After Indonesian police officials said that a man named Muhammad Bahrun Naim, believed to be currently in Syria, may have been the coordinator of last week's attacks, his brother Dahlan Zaim came forward over the weekend saying that it was too early to arrive at conclusions. The explosions in Jakarta Thursday killed four attackers and four civilians, and led to the arrest of 12 people in connection with the incident.
Police officials said Sunday that the group had planned further attacks targeting security officials and foreign nationals in cities like Bandung in West Java province.
According to reports, citing police, Bahrun, 32, was a loyalist of the Islamic State group — which claimed responsibility for the attack — and is now believed to be fighting alongside the extremist group in Syria. Officials also reportedly said that the attackers were linked to the Sunni militant group aka ISIS through Bahrun. However, Dahlan defended his brother and said that Bahrun, who is believed to be from Solo in the Java province, went to Syria to study.
“My friends keep asking me what’s going on. My university teachers say I come from a family of terrorists. But the police have only pointed a finger at my brother and it’s not even clear if he’s guilty. These accusations have had a huge impact on our family. My mom cries all the time,” Dahlan said, according to BBC, adding: “As far as I know, when he [Bahrun] was younger, he joined a radical group. But it wasn’t one with a violent track record. Just because he was a part of this group, doesn’t mean he carried out the attack.”
Dahlan also held a news conference Saturday and said that his family has not been in contact with Bahrun. He added that the family would cooperate with the legal procedures.
"We’ve been out of touch with him for a long time," Dahlan said, according to the Wall Street Journal, adding: “I can’t remember the last contact [we] had with” him. Dahlan also said that Bahrun was close to his family earlier and that “there was no change in [him] as long as I knew him.”
Meanwhile, officials said Sunday that one of the persons killed in the assault was incorrectly identified as a bomber. That person was a bystander, with the same name as a suspect. The man, who goes by only one name, was identified as 43-year-old Sugito, the Associated Press reported. Gunmen and suicide bombers aimed a Starbucks café and a traffic police post Thursday, injuring over 20 people. Two foreign nationals — a 52-year-old Dutch man named Yohanes Antonius Maria and a 44-year-old Austrian named Marek — were injured and later transferred to Singapore for further treatment.
Officials reportedly said over the weekend that as the investigation progresses, more arrests could be expected.