Indonesia’s security minister injured in stabbing

Wiranto was attacked after leaving his car in western Banten province.

Wiranto stabbing
Wiranto stabbing

A knife-wielding man who may have been influenced by a radical Islamic group has injured Indonesia’s security minister, a local police chief and a third person in an attack in a western province.

Security minister Wiranto, who goes by one name, was stabbed in the abdomen in the attack in Banten province, national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said.

The 72-year-old was airlifted to the capital Jakarta and remains in a stable condition.

Wiranto, who was armed forces chief in the late 1990s, had just stepped out of his car and was being welcomed by the police chief in Pandeglang when the attacker dashed towards them, wounding both along with the third man.

Wiranto stabbing
Wiranto is carried into hospital for treatment (AP)

Bodyguards wrestled the attacker to the ground and tied his hands behind his back while others helped Wiranto, who stumbled to the ground.

President Joko Widodo, who appointed Wiranto to the top security post in 2016, has visited him in hospital.

The motive for the attack, which came just a few days before Mr Widodo’s inauguration for his second five-year term in office, was not immediately clear.

As co-ordinating minister for politics, legal and security affairs, Wiranto supervises several ministries and agencies, including the national police and defence, which have been in charge of the government’s counter-insurgency campaign.

Police said they also arrested a female companion of the attacker.

Mr Prasetyo told reporters the pair may have been radicalised by the Islamic State group’s extremist ideology.

Joko Widodo
Indonesian President Joko Widodo addressed the media after visiting Wiranto in hospital in Jakarta (Achmad Ibrahim/AP)

“The perpetrators are alleged to have been exposed to Islamic State radicalism,” he told reporters.

He said investigators are trying to determine whether the attackers belonged to Jemaah Ansharuf Daulah, a Muslim militant network in Indonesia aligned with the Islamic State group which security officials believe has followers in Banten.

The group has been blamed for past bomb attacks in Indonesia.

As chief of the armed forces from 1998 to 1999, when the national police force was still under military control, Wiranto oversaw security and defence at a time when student protests erupted nationwide and eventually led to the fall of president Suharto in 1998.

Wiranto ran unsuccessfully for president in 2004 and for the vice-presidency in 2009. He led a political party in 2014 which threw its support behind Mr Widodo’s presidential campaign.

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