Published March 18, 2012
BALI, Indonesia – An elite anti-terrorism squad shot dead five suspected militants and seized several weapons in raids on Indonesia's popular tourist island of Bali, police said Monday.
National police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said police received a tip that that members of a terror group were planning several armed robberies in Bali to fund terrorism in Indonesia.
He said members of Detachment 88 attempted to capture the five suspects -- all in their late 20s and early 30s -- but shot them when they opened fire late Sunday. Three suspects were shot while trying to escape their bungalow near Sanur beach, he said, and two others died in a raid on their boarding house nine miles away.
Two FN-45 rifles and masks were seized from the scene, Amar said. He said the men had been planning to rob a currency exchange, a jewelry shop and a cafe near Kuta and Jimbaran, two of the Bali beaches most popular with tourists.
"They were seeking funds for terrorism acts," he said.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has been hit by a string of terrorist attacks in the last decade, including the 2002 suicide bombings on two crowded Bali nightclubs that left 202 people dead, most of them foreign tourists.
An attack on beachside restaurants on the island in 2005 killed at least 26 and wounded more than 100.
The deadliest attacks have been blamed on the Al Qaeda-linked militant network Jemaah Islamiyah, which has been hard hit by a series of arrests and deaths. Several smaller terror cells also exist.
Amar said the suspects killed Sunday were allegedly part of a terror group wanted for a series of armed robberies in Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra province in 2010. Police are investigating whether the suspects were connected to Jemaah Islamiyah or another larger terror group.