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Terror cell aided by foreign money

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Four arrested so far; Indonesian group targeted country's parliament and Myanmar embassy

JAKARTA: The latest Indonesian terror cell uncovered in Majalengka, West Java, had plans to strike during the December holiday season and had funding from abroad, police said.

"The Majalengka cell received funds from overseas, and the Indonesian police are working with Interpol to trace where from," said police spokesman Inspector General Boy Rafli Amar at a briefing yesterday.

He said the group had first hatched a plan to build a lab to make shabu-shabu, the local street name for the synthetic drug methamphetamine, and sell the drugs to raise funds for its terror activities.

"The plan somehow changed, and they went ahead with making bombs which they planned to use themselves or sell to other terror networks that needed them," said General Boy.

So far, four members of the group have been arrested - Rio Priatna Wibawa, 23; Saiful Bahri, 30; Bahrain Agam, 36; and Hendra Rizki, 24.

Their targets for attack included the country's parliament complex, police headquarters, local television stations and the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta.

The Straits Times understands that the Myanmar mission was targeted over Naypyidaw's alleged oppression of the Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority.

The plot was thwarted by Detachment 88 (Densus 88), the elite counter-terrorism unit of the police, last Wednesday when they busted a bomb-making lab in farmer Rio's home in Majalengka.

Besides tracing their funding, investigations are underway to establish how the cell managed to procure military-grade explosives such as TNT and RDX.

Quantities of the substance, large enough to cause twice the damage in the 2002 Bali bombings, were seized from Rio's home. General Boy said the Majalengka cell bought materials off the Internet and a street stall in Pramuka, Jakarta.

The four suspects are members of Jemaah Ansharut Daulah, an offshoot of the old Jemaah Islamiah terror network, that is linked to radical ideologue Aman Abdurrahman.