Indonesia police say militant was making powerful bombs

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian police said a suspected Islamic militant arrested earlier this week was making explosives more powerful than those used in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.

National Police spokesman Rikwanto said Saturday that Rio Priatna Wibawa, 23, is believed to be linked to Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian militant fighting with the Islamic State group in Syria who has orchestrated attacks at home including a January attack in the capital Jakarta that killed eight people.

Rikwanto, who goes by one name, said bomb-making explosives were recovered from a laboratory in Wibawa’s home in Majalengka town, West Java province. They could create bombs three times as powerful as the Bali bombs, he said.

A security crackdown since the 2002 Bali bombings that were carried out by al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah militant group has netted hundreds of radicals and reduced their capacity for large attacks. But a new threat has emerged from the hundreds of Indonesians who have traveled abroad to fight with IS and their supporters in Indonesia.

He said Wibawa, a drop out from an agricultural university, received funds from radicalised Indonesians working in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Taiwan, and was working under the direction of Naim.

Possible targets for attack were parliament building, police headquarters, embassies, television stations, places of worship and cafes, according to Rikwanto.

Chemicals seized from Wibawa’s laboratory included RDX, which is a component in plastic explosives, TNT, a high explosive peroxide HMTD and gunpowder.