Indonesian authorities said Thursday they had detained a ship in Bali and seized its unauthorized cargo of about 30 tons of fertilizer that could be used to make explosives.
The cargo of ammonium nitrate – the same material used in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people – likely was intended for use as bombs for fishing, authorities said according to international news reports. While illegal in Indonesia, fishing bombs are used to stun or kill schools of fish to make harvesting easier.
“I can only say that some of the usage of this ammonium nitrate is to make homemade fish bombs, so far there is no link to terrorism,” National Police Criminal Investigation Department Brig. Gen. Agung Setya told reporters in Bali.
Bali Police Chief Sugeng Priyanto supported Agung’s claim.
“For the use of terror acts, so far there is no indication,” he told BenarNews in a telephone interview.
Another Bali police official, Hendra Suhartiyono, took a different position, pointing out that the shipment of fertilizer was to be delivered to Sulawesi. The island is the home of militant group Eastern Indonesia Mujahidin that was led by Santoso, Indonesia’s most wanted man, until he was killed in a shootout with security forces in July.
MIT’s membership, however, has dwindled to only a dozen members at large. Last week, police in Central Sulawesi province, announced the arrest of Muhammad Basri, who is suspected of serving as Santoso’s deputy and who took over the MIT after the top leader’s demise.
“We are not closed to the possibility that this chemical material … could also be for the benefit of terrorist groups in Sulawesi to make low-impact and high-impact bombs,” Hendra told Reuters.
Full story: BenarNews
Tia Asmara and Nurdin Hasan
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