Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Indonesian anti-terrorist police have detained two men suspected of planning a bomb attack on Myanmar's Embassy in Jakarta. The planned attack follows fresh anti-Muslim unrest in Myanmar by Buddhist extremists backed by monks. The men, Sefa Riano, 28, and Achmad Taufiq, 21, were arrested late last night as they travelled by motorbike in a busy residential area in the south of the capital, carrying five assembled pipe bombs. The head of Indonesia's anti-terrorist agency said that the attack was set for today.
As a result, security has been beefed up around the target, Myanmar's diplomatic mission (in West Jakarta), as well as the ambassador's residence in Menteng (Central Jakarta), another potential target for Islamist groups.
The attack against the Myanmar Embassy had been in the making for some time, early police investigations show. Symbolically significant sites like embassies are preferred targets for extremist groups or lone terrorists who tend to act against any alleged violence against Muslims or Islamic religious symbols.
Noting that the bombs were ready for use, the anti-terrorist chief said, "The attack would have been launched if we did not stop them," adding, "Their intention was very clear."
The foiled attack came just hours after a radical cleric, Abu Bakar Bashir, issued a call for jihad against Myanmar for its treatment of Muslims.
Bashir, who inspired the 2002 Bali bombings in which more than 200 people died, described Myanmar's treatment of Rohingya Muslims as 'genocide' after Myanmar authorities recently called for limits on the minority's birth rate.
At the same time, Myanmar's military and religious nationalists have used the climate of tensions (resulting in scores of dead) to undermine the ongoing process of democratisation led by reformist President Thein Sein.