Police in Solo, Central Java, have wasted no time in removing a gigantic poster depicting the face of Malaysian terrorist Noordin M Top, who was killed during a raid in Kepuhsari neighborhood, a remote village north of Solo, on Thursday.
However, Central Java Police Chief Insp. Gen. Alex Bambang Riatmodjo, who oversaw the poster’s on Friday, warned against complacency, saying members of the terrorist network could still be capable of striking back.
“We feel relieved that Noordin M Top is finally dead, but our work is not yet done,” Riatmodjo said. “We have to stay alert because it’s not out of the question that new security threats will arise.”
Noordin, who has been on the police’s most wanted list for the past seven years for his role in series of terrorist attacks in the country, was killed during an eight-hour siege on Wednesday and Thursday.
His terror attacks include the deadly Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly Australian tourists; the Australian Embassy bombing in Jakarta in 2004; and the bombings of the JW Marriot and Ritz-Carlton hotels in South Jakarta on July 17.
Riatmodjo said there were a possible number outcomes following the death of Noordin. The first was that it may create panic among network members, forcing them to flee to various regions in order to save their lives; the second, it may provoke supporters to take revenge; and the third, they might hold a secret meeting to elect Noordin’s replacement.
“Noordin is an influential figure. His death will have a significant impact on terrorist network members and the public at large,” said Riatmodjo, refusing to speculate on who might be chosen to replace Noordin.
The officer also said that Noordin had miscalculated by hiding in Solo, an error that led to his death. “Noordin seemed to have used reverse logic, thinking that the most dangerous location makes the safest hideout. Logically, [you would think] that Solo was the least safe place to hole up,” he said, adding that intelligence units in the police, Special Detachment 88 and the military finally managed to track down Noordin through a combination of strategy and planning.
Lt. Col. Sadputra Adi Nugroho, commander of Solo Military Detachment, said his staff began to suspect that the house in Kepuhsari rented by Hadi Susilo, alias Adib, was a terrorist lair.
“Once we had reactivated the anti-terror desk on the instructions of Maj. Gen. Haryadi Sutanto of Military Region IV in Central Java, we immediately took the decision to survey strangers who live on the borders of the village or in areas with escape routes. Then came reports that Susilo’s house backs onto a river and a ring road,” Nugroho said.
“Then we carefully planned the raid on Susilo’s rented house,” he said.
“And finally, Noordin met his doom.”
He also said that Noordin was presumed to be frustrated by the police closing-in on him, while the number of people who were prepared to protect him had dwindled, so that in the end he joined fellow fugitives in their Solo hideout.