Terror Targeting Paradise?

Recent Arrests in Bali Have Experts Concerned that Terrorists May be Targeting Bali Tourists for Future Attacks

Fears of terrorist attacks in Bali were stoked with the arrest of Achmad Taufikurrahman (41) and his 14-year-old Son, identified only by the initials ZAI, on Friday, October 11, 2019.

As reported by RadarBali, the arrest is being seen by experts as “a signal that Bali remains a main target of terrorism.” Continuing, the report said that Bali is an attractive target for terrorism due to its position as an international tourism destination where even the smallest incident will earn international attention.

A criminologist from Bali’s Udayana University, Gde Made Swardhana, told RadarBali that the world knows Indonesia through Bali, adding, “because of this, all of us in Bali never sleep soundly due to the continuing efforts by terrorists."

In the minds of many religious hardliners, Bali represents an excellent target for terror with the international lifestyles on display on the Island that are seen as synonymous with immorality. Moreover, previous terrorist attacks on Bali in 2002 and 2005 managed to take a large toll in terms of human life and inflict damage on both the local and national economies.

Swardhana, who is a professor in the Udayana University’s Law School, said the activities of Achmad Taufikurrahman and his Son demonstrate that the target of terrorists in Indonesia has moved both its loci and changed its modus operandi. Terrorists, according to the Academician, no longer rig large bombs, but are using smaller, less easily detectable, tools of destruction. Under their new plans of attack, it has become of secondary importance if an attack results in the death of the targets or if the terrorist is captured dead or alive.

Continuing his discussion of current terrorist activities, Swardhana said, “Their doctrine is that if the terrorists die, they go straight to heaven.” The Criminologist is also convinced that the now arrested Achmad Taufikurrahman is a member of Jamaal Anshorut Dauluh (JAS), the terrorist organization that last week launched a knife attack on the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security, Wiranto.

Swardhana pointed to the fact that police discovered that terrorist suspect Achmad Taufikurrahman was undertaking surveys in the resort area of Ubud confirms that foreign tourists are a target of Amaliyah - or attacks against the perceived enemies of Islam. The professor also said terrorists in Indonesia are no longer targeting police stations, seeking instead to harm or kill influential public figures.

The Udayana professor expressed his concern that even a relatively limited terror action in Bali would have a devastating impact on the Island’s tourism economy.

The two terrorists were intercepted by police as they traveled by private vehicle from Bali to their home communities in nearby East Java. The arrests took place on the road immediately in front of the Mendoyo Police Precinct in Jembrana, West Bali at 2:00 am on Friday, October 11, 2019.

The two terrorists were traveling in one vehicle carrying five people driven by Achmad Taufikurrahman, his Son, Taufik’s wife Etty Umiyati, Eko Hadi (38) from Wonosari, and H. Ahmadsyah (70) for Jembrana.

Police later brought the five people to boarding house rooms rented by Achmad Taufikurrahman on Jalan Sedap Malam in Denpasar. At the rented rooms, police seized arrows, a homemade firearm, a laptop computer and other items police say were connected with planned attacks in Bali.

Somewhat shockingly, the terrorist and his child admitted to police that they had been surveying villas used by foreigners in Ubud. Three of the passengers were released by police, with only Achmad Taufikurrahman and his Son remaining in police custody.

A spokesman for the Bali Police, Hengky Widjaja, stated that the two now under arrests were part of a radical ISIS network – Abu Bakar Al Baghadi. Achmad Taufikurrahman was also identified as a close associated of Abu Rara, the man who attacked Minister Wiranto.

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