Police: Indonesian couple carried out Jolo cathedral bombing
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Police said Tuesday they believe an Indonesian husband and wife carried out the suicide bombing of a cathedral in Jolo, Sulu in Mindanao in January that killed more than 20 people.
Indonesia’s National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told a news conference that an Islamic militant arrested in East Kalimantan last month had confessed that he’d recruited Rullie Rian Zeke and his wife, Ulfah Handayani Saleh, for the Philippine bombing.
The militant, identified only as Yoga, and the couple he recruited for the bombing were all part of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, a banned Islamic extremist group in Indonesia that allies itself with the Islamic State group, according to police. Yoga also had contacts with IS militants in Afghanistan.
The Indonesian couple’s alleged role in the bombing of the Marian Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo highlights links between militants across Southeast Asia. Authorities are concerned about Indonesian, Malaysian and Philippine citizens who joined IS in Syria and Iraq returning to Southeast Asia and carrying out attacks in the region.
The Indonesians’ involvement in the Roman Catholic cathedral attack was initially suspected from the interrogations of five militants caught by authorities in the Philippines after the bombings who described their accents and habits, Prasetyo said.
Some Indonesian militants had tried to reach Afghanistan after the defeat of IS in Syria and Iraq, Prasetyo said, including a man arrested in a Jakarta satellite city who planned a suicide bombing during protests in May against the results of Indonesia’s presidential election.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.