Approximately 50 students and one teacher affiliated with an Islamic boarding school and allegedly involved in terrorist activities were taken into police custody on Tuesday.
According to Antaranews.com, dozens of fully-armed police officers raided the Pondok Darul Akhfiya school in the Kepuh village of the Nganjuk district in East Java.
Besides hauling in students, officers also arrested Nasiruddin Ahmad, also known as Landung Tri Bawono, the teacher at the institution.
Nganjuk police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Anggoro Sukartono told Okezone.com that police were still trying to determine whether or not the students were being trained to be terrorists.
A local resident commented that people who live in the surrounding area of the school regularly witnessed students participating in martial arts training during the morning and evening.
“They often exercised and practiced martial arts. They even have a space that looks like a military training field behind the school,” Maryono, one of the locals, said, as quoted by Antaranews.com. “We suspect they are members of a terrorist network.”
Maryono said that students of the school are high school-aged and are from several different regions, such as Banyuwangi, Pasuruan and Ambon.
Nasiruddin denied the allegations and claimed that he only teaches the students about Islam.
“We’re not teaching terrorism, but only religious studies, as other Islamic boarding schools do,” Nasiruddin said. “Besides that, we teach them martial arts.”
Police have not let journalists investigate the scene further, but a reliable source told Antaranews.com that police found many books about jihad and air guns on the premises.
Nganjuk police officers refused to comment when the Jakarta Globe contacted them.