Islamist prisoners kill five Indonesian police in jail clash

DEPOK, Indonesia

Islamist militants killed five police at a high-security Indonesian prison and were holding one hostage on Wednesday following clashes at the jail on the outskirts of Jakarta, police said.

A prisoner had also been killed at the jail in Depok, National police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal told reporters.

“Five of our colleagues died…. one of our colleagues is still inside and being held hostage,” Iqbal said, adding that the hostage was reported to be safe.

He said the prison, at the Mobile Police Brigade (Brimob) headquarters, held around 130 convicted terrorists, but it was unclear how many were involved in the clashes. The prisoners are suspected of having taken weapons from the police who were killed.

In a message carried on its Amaq news agency, Islamic State claimed responsibility and said that 10 counter-terrorism officers had been killed.

Iqbal denied that Islamic State was involved. He said a dispute had broken out late on Tuesday with prisoners who objected to authorities making checks on their food.

Police were negotiating with the prisoners, he said.

“If they surrender, it will be a non-violent process. But if there is a threat to officers or others, we will take very strong action,” Iqbal said.

Police maintained tight security around the jail on Wednesday and kept onlookers away.

Last week, anti-terrorism police arrested three militants suspected of planning an attack on three other police buildings in West Java.

Islamic State sympathizers have carried out a series of mostly low-level attacks in Indonesia over the past few years.

Last year, an attack by two suicide bombers, using pressure cookers packed with explosives, killed three police and wounded 12 at a Jakarta bus terminal.

In January 2016, four Islamic State-linked militants mounted a gun-and-bomb attack at a busy intersection outside a Starbucks cafe in central Jakarta, killing themselves and four others.

Reuters

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