Indonesian terror suspects allegedly executed Christian teacher

Ten detainees also suspected of planning to assassinate American language teacher before their arrest this month.

indonesia police 88 (photo credit: AP)
indonesia police 88
(photo credit: AP)
Indonesian terror suspects executed a Christian teacher in front of his family and were planning to assassinate an American language teacher before their arrest this month, a top anti-terrorism official and the suspects' lawyer said Monday. The ten alleged militants have also told officers they were plotting to attack the Supreme Court to avenge the upcoming executions of the Bali nightclub bombers and attack a joint Singaporean-Indonesian military exercise, the security official said. The revelations point to the resilience of Islamist militant networks in Indonesia despite a US-backed crackdown that has netted more than 400 suspects in recent years and reduced the risk of more large-scale attacks on Western targets, most experts say. Since Sept. 11, 2001, Indonesia has been hit by a string of suicide bombings blamed on members and associates of the regional militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, including the 2002 nightclub bombings on Bali island that left 202 people dead, many of them foreign tourists. The last major strike was in 2005, also on Bali. The group of 10 militants were arrested in early July in a series of raids on Sumatra island. Officers have said one of the suspects was a Singaporean who trained in Afghanistan with al-Qaida. Twenty bombs packed with live bullets were seized from the men. The men's lawyer Asludin Hatjani said Monday the group was responsible for shooting 59-year-old Dago Simamora, an Indonesian teacher, to death in front of his children last year in the south Sumatran town of Pekanbaru. The crime had previously been unsolved. "It's true, they did that," the lawyer told The Associated Press. He gave no motive for the attack. Late Sunday, the anti-terrorism officer revealed the men were also planning to execute an American teaching English in the town of Sekayu, which lies just west of Pekanbaru. He identified the teacher by his first name of Samuel. A teacher at the SMU-2 school in Sekayu confirmed a US citizen called Samuel used to work there, but left several months ago. She did not give her name. The US Embassy in the capital, Jakarta, declined comment. The anti-terrorism officer spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, saying that revealing his identity would jeopardize ongoing anti-terror operations. Hatjani declined to comment on that allegation, saying interrogations were continuing. The officer also said the group planned to detonate one of the devices in the car park of the Supreme Court in the capital, Jakarta, to coincide with the executions of three militants convicted in the Bali attacks. Authorities say they expect to execute the trio before the beginning of September. He also said the group was planning to attack a joint Indonesia-Singaporean military exercise at Baturaja, the Indonesian military's major combat training area. It is located in south Sumatra. The official declined to say how advanced the planning was in the operations. Officers have previously said the group also planned to attack a cafe in the Sumatran tourist town of Bukittinggi, but aborted it at the last minute out of fears there would be too many Muslim casualties.