Eds: Updates with DFAT advice
JAKARTA, April 7 AAP – Indonesian police are on alert after suspected Bali bombing mastermind Abu Bakar Bashir encouraged supporters to disrupt this week’s Indonesian legislative elections.
The convicted terrorist has asked supporters not to be “unproductive” and to disrupt Wednesday’s nationwide ballot.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Adi Deriyan Jayamarta told Indonesia’s Kompas news website police have been warned by Indonesia’s anti-terror forces that a terrorist network could be planning an attack.
The police chief, based in Malang, East Java, has ordered officers to stay in communication with religious leaders and approach any suspicious object with care, especially near polling stations.
“There’s expert personnel who will handle it,” he said on Monday.
“Don’t think that you have some kind of `blast-free magic’ and handle it yourself.”
According to Lt Col Adi, Detachment 88, Indonesia’s counter-terror squad, had information from a terror suspect involved with a network “that has done military training for firearm and bomb usage”.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade updated its travel advice for Indonesia last week, noting the elections.
“Australians are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations and political rallies, as they can turn violent with little notice,” a spokesman said.
“The department keeps the travel advice for Indonesia under close review and updates it as required.”
Bashir, the founder of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), is serving 15 years in Nusa Kambangan, a high-security jail off the coast of central Java dubbed the Alcatraz of Indonesia.
He was acquitted over the 2002 Bali bombings, but was jailed over his role in setting up a terror cell in Aceh.
Indonesia’s counter-terrorism agency chief in 2012 told AAP Bashir was still giving orders from behind bars, albeit to a group with a different name, but the same radical ideology as JI.
The bombing of two Kuta nightclubs in 2002 killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.