Officials: Plot to kill Indonesian president foiled

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Indonesian authorities said earlier today that they have uncovered a plot by rebels to assassinate several senior government officials, among them president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

File photo of president Yudhoyono.

National police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri commented on the matter earlier today, saying that several rebels intended to conduct the attack and declare an Islamic state during the August 17 independence day ceremony. "They were confident that all state officials and dignitaries would be there. Killing all the state officials would have accelerated the transition from a democracy to a state controlled by Islamic Shariah law," he said.

Danuri added that the attacks also included a plan to attack foreigners and hotels in the capital Jakarta — somewhat similar to the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 174 after rebels attacked tourist spots like hotels and a train station.

"Their plan was also to launch attacks in Jakarta against foreigners — especially Americans — and attack and control hotels within certain communities, imitating what happened in Mumbai," the police chief said. "If we had not detected them and their military training had been successful, then they would have assassinated foreigners."

The plot was revealed in part due to several anti-terror raids near the capital, which saw twenty people arrested. Many of those now in custody were reportedly trained at a camp in Aceh, and operated by a branch of the Jemaah Islamiyah group called al-Qaeda in Aceh.

This is reportedly the second alleged plot to assassinate the Indonesian president in a year; last August, security forces said they had evidence suggesting rebels would blow up a car by Yudhonoyo's motorcade. The last large rebel attack was in last July, when suicide bombers targeted hotels in the capital.