The police and other agencies have stepped up inland and border security measures, the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Friday, after six terror suspects were arrested over a plot to fire a rocket at Marina Bay from Batam.
“In response to this threat and the prevailing security situation police and other agencies have been stepping up inland and border security measures,” a ministry spokesperson said.
MHA added that it was “aware that plans were being made by the six terror suspects”, but gave no indication as to when it first discovered the plot.
“Our security agencies have been coordinating closely with the Indonesian authorities since the discovery of this attack plot, to monitor the activities of the group and to apprehend those involved,” the ministry noted. “We are grateful for the good co-operation by the Indonesian authorities and their actions to apprehend the group.”
The suspects, aged 19 to 46, were arrested on Friday morning by Special Detachment 88, Indonesia’s elite counter-terrorism squad. The group is said to have links to Bahrun Naim, the alleged mastermind behind the attacks in central Jakarta earlier this year.
Naim, an Indonesian militant who is on the radar of the security agencies, is said to have encouraged attacks in Singapore, Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said in March. Mr Shanmugam has also warned on several occasions that the threat of a terror attack in Singapore is at its highest level in recent times.
Neither the Singapore nor the Indonesian authorities have given clues as to what type of rocket the suspects had tried to use, or if the Indonesian police managed to recover the weapon. Singapore and Batam are less than 30km apart at the nearest point.
According to an online report by Batam Pos, the suspects were arrested at various locations across Batam, including the Mediterranean Housing Block FF1 Batam Centre, Complex Masyeba, Cluster Sakura Botania, Carina Park Complex, and the Komplek Taman Indah Batuaji.
The report identified the six suspects as Gigih Rahmat Dewa, 31, Trio Syafrido, 46, Eka Saputra, 35, Tarmidzi, Hadi Gusti Yanda, 20, and M Tegar Sucianto, 19. All of them work at a fabric factory except Trio, who is reportedly a bank executive. An Indonesian TV station identified Gigih as the ring leader.
One of Gigih’s neighbour said he got married four years ago and did not show signs of suspicious behaviour. “He rarely goes out, in fact, we don’t know anything about them. So far the couple has been good,” the neighbor was quoted saying by Batam Pos.
The MHA spokesperson said the latest arrests highlighted “the seriousness of the terrorism threat to Singapore, and the importance of the SGSecure national movement”.
“The public are advised to remain vigilant,” the ministry added.