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by Farouk Arnaz

2/14/11 Indonesia (JakartaGlobe) – Moving swiftly in the face of mounting concerns over religious violence, the Central Java Police have identified the alleged ringleaders of last week’s riot and burning of churches in Temanggung. 

Nine people were injured, and police sources have identified the leader of the attack as local cleric Syhabudin, 46, and his accomplice as Lutfi Hakim Aziz, 33, although the police have refused to officially confirm the names. 

“I cannot mention their names, but for sure one of them is a cleric from a local Islamic boarding school,” said the province’s chief of detectives, Sr. Comr. Didit Widjanardi. 

The 24 suspects, including Syhabudin and Lutfi, arrested as of Friday were mostly villagers from Sigedhong who were “mobilized” by the ringleaders, he added. 

Temanggung has long been a breeding ground for Islamist extremists and was one of the areas where early members of Jemaah Islamiyah were recruited. 

In 2009, police killed Ibrohim, the florist at the Marriott Hotel who is believed to have smuggled the bomb into the hotel in advance of the July 2009 terrorist attack, in Temanggung. 

In 2007, officers arrested Temanggung resident Mujaddid, an accomplice of Noordin M. Top, for his involvement in the sectarian conflict in Poso, Central Sulawesi, in the late 1990s.

Police officials said over the weekend that they were moving quickly on this case because it has drawn intense public scrutiny, including pressure from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who denounced the church attacks and threatened to disband groups that promoted violence .


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