Indonesia’s chief security minister, Wiranto, was recovering in hospital after being stabbed in the stomach by a suspected Islamic State sympathizer at an event in western Java, police said.
Television footage showed the 72-year-old minister slump to the ground beside his car after the attack on Oct. 10 in Banten province, west of the capital. Security officers were seen wrestling a man and a woman to the ground that media reported were a married couple.
The former military general and former presidential candidate was airlifted to hospital in Jakarta and was in a stable condition, officials said.
“Someone approached and attacked him,” national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told reporters. The couple have been arrested and a pair of scissors and knives seized, according to media reports.
The pair were members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), one of a number of local radical groups that has pledged loyalty to the Islamic State (IS) network, police said.
“We have been able to identify the perpetrators as JAD members,” Budi Gunawan, the head of Indonesia’s intelligence agency told reporters in Jakarta.
JAD was blamed for back-to-back suicide bombings at three churches in Surabaya last year that killed a dozen members of the congregations. The IS claimed responsibility for that attack.
The attacks in Surabaya saw a family of five blow themselves up, the deadliest for years in a country that has struggled with Islamist militancy.
Hundreds of Indonesians travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the IS extremist group at the height of its power. Police in Indonesia frequently arrest suspected militants whom they claim are planning terrorism at home.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack on the minister, who had been visiting the area to open a new building at a university. People were gathered around him before the attack to shake hands.
Wiranto, appointed to his post in 2016 and a former head of the armed forces, has faced controversy over alleged human rights violations and allegations of crimes against humanity for Indonesia’s brutal occupation of East Timor. He has denied wrongdoing.
More recently, he has played a key role in the government’s response to deadly riots in Papua.