Indonesian police took in 57 alleged extremists for questioning during a large-scale operation at the headquarters of a radical Islamist group in Jakarta. The suspect will be questioned on their possible involvement in an attack on a peaceful rally.
Indonesian police swooped on the headquarters of a radical Islamist group Wednesday and detained 57 alleged extremists over a violent attack on a peaceful rally for religious tolerance, a spokesman said.
National police spokesman Abubakar Nataprawira said the pre-dawn operation, reportedly involving some 2,000 officers, was in response to Sunday's attack by stick-wielding fanatics from the Islamic Defenders Front (IFP).
"We have taken for questioning a total of 57 people. However, whether they will be declared suspects or not will depend on the result of their questioning," he told AFP after the raid in the Petamburan area of Jakarta.
The Indonesian government under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had come under strong pressure to act against the radicals after police failed to stop the unprovoked assault on the rally in Jakarta which left scores injured.
Hundreds of radicals took part in the attack, underlining the government's failure to rein in extremist elements in the moderate Muslim country despite a series of such incidents in recent years.
Police gave an ultimatum to the FPI late Monday to hand over 10 suspects wanted in connection to the violence by midnight or face action.
Nataprawira could not confirm that the 10 unidentified suspects were among those rounded up in the raid, which took place around 2:30 am (1930 GMT).
"The number of suspects may certainly rise from the 10 we have announced. It will depend on the ongoing investigation," he said.
The Metro television channel said some 2,000 police were involved and showed images of detainees being loaded onto trucks.
Hundreds of FPI supporters staged a sit-in protest to block the narrow alley leading to the group's headquarters, it said.
Date created : 2008-06-04