Indonesia probes suicide bombing that killed 3 policemen

The police believe they were targeted in the bombing as they provided security for a parade near the station.

Indonesia probes suicide bombing that killed 3 policemen
A member of the Indonesian police anti-terror squad. Reuters (Representational Image)

Indonesia's elite anti-terror squad was investigating a suicide bombing on Thursday that killed three policemen in the country. This comes as the latest assault in the Muslim-majority country as it faces a surge in militant plots.

On Wednesday, two suicide attackers detonated bombs near a busy Jakarta bus station sending huge clouds of black smoke into the sky. Panicked people were seen fleeing from the scene. The terminal is a local hub served by minibuses and buses.

Reports said the bombers died while five other police officers and five civilians were injured in the assault, which left body parts and glass strewn across the road outside the Kampung Melayu terminal in a working-class district.

The police believe they were targeted in the bombing as they provided security for a parade near the station, which is an area frequented by locals but not foreigners. In recent years, the security forces have been the main target of Indonesian militants, who have largely turned their attention away from Westerners.

President Joko Widodo said on Thursday that he had ordered a thorough probe and was "urging all citizens across the nation to stay calm and remain united". "I convey my deepest condolences to the victims and their families -- especially the police officers who passed away while performing their duty," he said in a televised address.

Although none of the militant organizations have claimed responsibility for the attack. But, Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, has been on high alert after a string of plots in recent times by militants inspired by the Islamic State (IS) group.

The police wrapped up a crime scene investigation in the early hours and handed over the probe to their elite anti-terror squad. The squad has played a leading role in tracking down and killing some of Indonesia's most wanted militants.

"Anti-terror squad Densus 88 is currently conducting an investigation, we want to know where the bombers came from, which groups they are affiliated to," Setyo Wasisto, national police spokesman told AFP.

Wasisto also confirmed that the bombs were made out of pressure cookers. A pressure cooker bomb was used in an attack in the city of Bandung in February carried out by a militant from an IS-supporting local group called Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which has been blamed for a string of recent assaults.

Martinus Sitompul, another police spokesman, told a local TV station that the bombs went off 10 to 12 metres (32 to 40 feet) from one another and about five minutes apart.

Indonesia has long struggled with Islamic militancy and has suffered a series of attacks in the past 15 years, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

A gun and suicide attack in the capital Jakarta left four attackers and four civilians dead in January last year, and was the first assault claimed by IS in Southeast Asia.

The country has been hit by a series of low-level attacks since, usually claimed by IS-supporting groups, but most have caused little damage.