By Fransiska Nangoy
JAKARTA (Reuters) – A suicide bomber on a motorcycle attacked a police station in the small Indonesian city of Solo on Tuesday, killing himself and wounding a police officer, a police spokesman said.
Shortly after the attack, President Joko Widodo, who is from Solo and a former mayor of the town, ordered police to arrest others that may have been connected to the suicide bomber.
“I have asked the police chief to chase down the network and uncover who is the suicide bomber,” the president told reporters. “We hope for the people to remain calm in this last fasting day. No need to be scared.”
Police said the attacker detonated the bomb he was wearing shortly after driving into the grounds of the police station in Solo, known as a hotbed for religious fundamentalism. A police officer who tried to stop him from entering sustained minor injuries.
The identity of the bomber was not immediately clear, but intelligence chief Sutiyoso told MetroTV he suspected the attacker was a supporter of Islamic State.
Indonesian authorities have been on heightened alert since the Islamic State militant group claimed an attack in the capital, Jakarta, in January that killed four people. The four attackers also died.
Southeast Asia’s largest economy is home to the world’s largest Muslim population, the vast majority of whom practise a moderate form of Islam.
Indonesia saw a spate of attacks in the 2000s, the deadliest of which was a nightclub bombing on the holiday island of Bali that killed 202 people, most of them tourists.
Police have been largely successful in destroying domestic militant cells since then, but they now worry that the influence of Islamic State could pitch the country back into violence.
Southeast Asian militants who claim to be fighting for Islamic State in the Middle East have said they have chosen one of the most wanted men in the Philippines to head a regional faction of the ultra-radical group that includes Indonesians and Malaysians, security officials said last month.
(Additional reporting by the Jakarta bureau; Editing by Michael Perry)