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September 21, 2017

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Indonesian surrenders, confesses to plot over Rohingya treatment

JAKARTA -- An Indonesian terror suspect has surrendered himself and confessed to a suicide bomb plot against Buddhists in Jakarta to protest against Myanmar's treatment of Muslim Rohingya, police said Monday.

A man who identified as Muhammad Toriq turned himself in on Sunday, national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said. The suspected militant fled his house in a Jakarta suburb last week after neighbors reported seeing smoke rising from it.

Police had launched a manhunt for him after discovering detonators, boxes of nails, sulphur and other explosive materials at his home.

"We confirm Toriq has turned himself in," Amar told reporters. "Based on preliminary investigations, he planned to carry out suicide bombings today (Monday)," he said.

It was unclear why he decided to surrender.

Toriq's potential targets were the elite Brimob police headquarters, the office of the Detachment 88 anti-terror police, a police station and "Buddhist community," all in Jakarta, Amar said.

"It's related to the Rohingya issue in Myanmar. (He) believed it's unfair to Muslims there," he added, explaining why Toriq was targeting the Buddhist community.

Communal violence between ethnic Buddhist Rakhine and local Muslims, including the Rohingya, swept Myanmar's Rakhine state in June, leaving dozens dead and tens of thousands homeless.

Around 800,000 Rohingyas live in Myanmar and are considered to be some of the world's most persecuted minorities.

Hundreds of Indonesian Muslim hardliners have expressed anger over the unrest, protesting outside Myanmar's embassy in July.

Toriq wrote a farewell letter to his family, seeking forgiveness and "hoping to enter Heaven and receive God's blessings," Amar said.

The development came a day after an explosion at a house suspected of being a bomb workshop in Depok, near Jakarta, left three people injured.

Earlier this month, a shootout in Solo in central Java left two terrorist suspects and an anti-terror officer dead.

Indonesia, the biggest Muslim country by its population, has waged a crackdown on militant groups over the past decade with anti-terror police claiming the deaths of some of the country's most notorious terrorist suspects in bloody raids.

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