With this solid synergy, this year's Christmas celebrations will run peacefully
Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA) - The North Sumatra police and military have coordinated forces to secure Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra Province, ahead of this year's celebrations of Christmas. The police have deployed 1,200 personnel while the Indonesian military (TNI) dispatched 200 personnel to secure churchgoers wanting to join the congregations at churches, Medan City Police Chief Sen. Coms. Dadang Hartanto said here Thursday.

"With this solid synergy, this year's Christmas celebrations will run peacefully," he said, adding that the police and TNI officers had coordinated with the authorities of several churches in the city for security purposes.

In securing the city, the police and TNI personnel would be assisted by some 100 officers of the Medan Public Order Agency (Satpol PP). The churches' leaders were also expected to activate their respective internal security systems, he said.

Related news: Police ready to secure Christmas celebrations: top security minister

Indonesia experienced a string of bombings of churches in several cities, including Medan, Pematang Siantar, Batam, Bandung, and Jakarta, on December 24, 2000.

On November 13, 2019 a suicide bomber detonated the home-made bomb that he carried at the yard of Medan City Police Headquarters.

The attacker died in the blast that injured six others.

Related news: A suspected suicide bombing strikes Medan police headquarters

Related news: National Police confirms six victims in bombing strike in Medan

A week after the suicide bombing in Medan, the National Police's counter-terrorism squad, Densus 88, arrested 71 suspected terrorists.

Two of the 71 suspects were shot dead after they assaulted the policemen who attempted to apprehend them, National Police Spokesman Inspector General Mohammad Iqbal revealed recently.

Suspected terrorists were captured in North Sumatra and several other provinces, including Riau, Jakarta's outskirts, Banten, West Java, Central Java, East Java, Aceh, South Sulawesi, and a province in Kalimantan Island, Iqbal said.

Meanwhile, a terrorism expert has called on counterterrorism agencies in Indonesia to remain alert and focus on any potential terror threat during the Christmas and New Year's Eve holiday season until the first month of 2020. Precautionary measures should be extended while referring to the terrorist attack on Thamrin Street in Central Jakarta on January 14, 2016, Habib noted on December 4.

The terrorist attack on January 14, 2016, revealed that it took place after security agencies might have lowered their vigil. Hence, counterterrorism agencies should not merely focus on such dates as December 25 and 31, and January 1.

Throwing a security blanket over such an extended period for any potential terror threat was deemed necessary since the attack patterns of the terrorists might have also changed, Habib noted.

The terror acts could potentially take place between December 2019 and January 2020, though the attack patterns could slightly change as compared to those in the earlier years, he forecast.

Related news: Counterterrorism agencies advised to maintain vigil until January

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Reporter: Nur ABS, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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