KOMPAS.com – Indonesian Police has uncovered a bombmaking bunker in Lampung province built by Jamaah Islamiyah [JI] bombmaker Upik Lawanga alias UL on December 19, days after they arrested him as well as 23 of his accomplices, and brought them to Jakarta.
“The Detachment 88 [Desnsu 88] found the bunker hidden under Upik’s farmhouse in the Seputih Banyak district,” said Lampung Regional Police spokesman Zahwani Pandra Arsyad.
“He made the 3 x 2 structure at least 100 meters away from other houses, and used other means to camouflage his activities.” Pandra noted that the crafty Upik, whose resourcefulness and bombmaking expertise earned him the name ‘the Professor’, does not end there.
“He constructed the bunker in the kitchen and hid it three meters of water. and located it near rice paddies to cover up the sounds of bombmaking as well as the manufacture of improvised guns,” Pandra noted.
“He also raised as well as sold, ducks and used their quacking to muffle the sounds of his weapons tests. Upik is just as skilled in tailoring the bombs to its surroundings.”
Police arrested Upik and his 23 accomplices earlier this December, ending his 18-year time as a fugitive.
Upik is implicated in a number of Jamaah Islamiyah attacks, starting with the 2002 Bali bombing that killed more than 200 people, as well as the Marriott and Ritz Carlton bomb blasts in 2009.
His arrest came after heightened tensions between the Islamic Defenders Front [FPI] and the police culminated in a shootout that klled six FPI members, and the jailing of FPI chief Rizieq Shihab in Jakarta.
It also came after investigators found that JI used alms boxes throughout Indonesia to fool unwitting passers-by into funding their terrorist activities.
Most of the boxes were found in Lampung with 6 thousand boxes, followed by North Sumatra with 4 thousand, the East Java city of Malang with 2500, as well as Solo, Central Java and Yogyakarta with 2 thousand boxes, respectively.