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20th arrest in Indonesian bomb plots is journalist | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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JAKARTA, (AP) — A TV news cameraman arrested in Indonesian bomb plots had been recruited to film and broadcast the group’s terrorist acts, including a foiled Good Friday church attack, police said Saturday.

Global-TV cameraman Imam Firdaus was among 20 suspects arrested in a series of anti-terror raids this week, national police spokesman Col. Boy Rafli Amar said.

“He is now being questioned to determine his role in the group,” Amar said, adding that Firdaus was offered by another suspect, Pepi Fernando, who was believed to be the group leader.

Arya Sinulingga, news director of the Jakarta-based Global-TV, confirmed Firdaus worked there and expressed remorse over the involvement of media employees in terrorism.

The 20 arrests were made as part of an investigation of mail bombs sent last month in Jakarta to targets the perpetrators blamed for “sins against Islam.”

The arrests led police to sprawling 3,000-seat Christ Cathedral Church in Serpong, a Jakarta suburb, where they uncovered and safely defused nine bombs, several weighing up to 175 pounds (80 kilograms).

Some were placed under a gas pipeline, and others in bags and plastic containers filled with high-explosive chemicals. The bombs were timed to explode Friday morning.

Terror suspects in Indonesia can be detained for investigation for up to seven days, then must be charged or released.

Families of the suspects did not want to speak to the media. Friends of Firdaus have been quoted as saying he attended an Islamic university but had secular beliefs.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has been battling extremists since 2002 when al-Qaida-linked militants attacked two nightclubs on Bali island, killing 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.

Several attacks since then targeted glitzy hotels, restaurants and an embassy, but they have been much less deadly and the last occurred two years ago.

Ninety percent of Indonesians are Muslim, though most practice a moderate form of the faith and abhor violence. A small, extremist fringe has become more vocal, and violent, in recent years.