Indonesian musician Jerinx’s Twitter account ‘temporarily restricted’ after questioning Wiranto’s attack

Jerinx, the outspoken drummer from Bali punk rock band, Superman is Dead. Photo: Facebook
Jerinx, the outspoken drummer from Bali punk rock band, Superman is Dead. Photo: Facebook

In an incident as shocking and unexpected as yesterday’s knife attack on Indonesia’s chief security minister Wiranto, it’s hardly surprising that there have been numerous conspiracy theories circulating online about the true nature or intention behind the attack.

One of the more prevalent conspiracy theories is that the attack was staged and never intended to bring harm to Wiranto. This was supposedly done to take some heat off the government, which has faced intense criticism in recent weeks over numerous pressing issues in Indonesia that culminated in nationwide student protests.

One person who appeared to perpetuate that theory is Bali punk rock icon Jerinx of the band Superman is Dead. Jerinx, who some might say is a controversial and outspoken activist, yesterday implied to cast doubt that the attack on Wiranto was an attempt on his life. 

“If the intention was to kill, then why were the knives so small?” Jerinx tweeted.

Jerinx’s tweet was in reference to photos of the small knives used to attack Wiranto, which circulated online. The two knives have been described by local media to resemble the weapon used by Naruto in the popular manga of the same name.

Soon after Jerinx posted the tweet, Twitter temporarily restricted his account, citing, “unusual activity.”

Image: Twitter screengrab

The restriction was still in place as of the time of writing this morning. However, a temporary restriction on Twitter does not prevent users from viewing the affected account’s tweets. True enough, Jerinx’s controversial tweet is still up on his profile, which he had followed up with more tweets that imply further dissatisfaction with Wiranto and the government.

Image: Twitter screengrab
Image: Twitter screengrab

“Hope you get well soon, bro,” Jerinx wrote in the tweet, which included a photo of himself sitting next to Wiranto.

Image: Twitter screengrab
Image: Twitter screengrab

“I prayed for him to get well so that he can be held responsible for whatever his political sins are,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet.

Jerinx also defended his earlier tweet about the small knives.

Image: Twitter screengrab
Image: Twitter screengrab

“Why should I be scared? I can’t ask something? So, as an Indonesian, we have to 100% believe the media just like that? Is this a country or a sausage factory?” he tweeted.

We have reached out to Twitter for clarification on what justification the platform used to temporarily restrict Jerinx’s account. We’ll update this story as soon as we get a response.

The attack

Two members of an Islamic State group-linked terror network stabbed Indonesia’s chief security minister Wiranto yesterday, sending the powerful politician to emergency surgery for his wounds.

Television images showed security officers wrestling a man and woman to the ground in Pandeglang, West Java after Wiranto was attacked as he was exiting a vehicle.

The suspects were identified as 31-year-old Syahril Alamsyah and Fitri Andriana, 21 — a married couple, according to local media.

They were members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), an extremist group responsible for deadly suicide bombings at churches in Surabaya last year, State Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Budi Gunawan told reporters in Jakarta. 

JAD is among dozens of radical groups that have pledged loyalty to the Islamic State (IS) group in Indonesia, which has long struggled with Islamist militancy.

Wiranto, 72 — who police have said was one of several targets in an earlier failed assassination plot — was rushed by helicopter to the capital, where he was treated for two knife wounds in his stomach. 

A three-hour operation “went well,” Indonesian cabinet secretary Pramono Anung told reporters at the Gatot Subroto army hospital. 

Anung said he had just seen Wiranto, whose “operation had finished and he entered the ICU.”

“It is being handled very well by the hospital,” he said in a video posted by Detik.

President Joko Widodo earlier said Wiranto was “in surgery” and asked “that all Indonesians pray that he gets well soon.”

“And I ask for everyone’s help in fighting radicalism and terrorism because we can only do it together,” he added.

The assassination attempt comes just over a week before Jokowi kicks off a second term as leader of the Southeast Asian archipelago, which is the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation with some 260 million people.

Three others — a local police chief and two aides — also suffered knife wounds after Thursday’s attack but authorities said they had non-life-threatening injuries. 

Wiranto, the retired chief of the armed forces and a failed presidential candidate, was appointed to his post in 2016 and oversees several departments, including the foreign affairs and defense ministries.

He has faced controversy over alleged human rights violations and allegations of crimes against humanity linked to Indonesia’s brutal occupation of East Timor.

In May, police said Wiranto and three other top officials were targeted in a failed assassination plot linked to deadly riots in Jakarta after Jokowi’s re-election victory.

A group of six people — arrested before they could carry out the killings — planned to murder the officials and an election pollster in a bid to plunge the country into chaos, police said at the time.

With additional reporting by AFP

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