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Indonesia to outlaw Jemaah Islamiyah

1380 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Yamauchi
Posted on Mon, Mar. 21, 2005

Indonesia will outlaw Jemaah Islamiyah

Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesia plans to formally outlaw the al-Qaida-linked terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, a move that will make it easier for authorities to arrest and prosecute militants in the world's most populous Muslim nation, a top security official said Monday.

Banning the organization - which is listed by the United Nations as a terrorist group - will please the United States and other foreign governments but risks opposition from Muslim groups and political parties that fear it may herald a broader crackdown on Islamic activists.

Ansyaad Mbai, who heads the counterterrorism desk at Indonesia's Coordinating Ministry for Political and Security Affairs, said the government intends to outlaw the group, which is blamed for a host of attacks and plots throughout Southeast Asia, including the 2002 Bali nightclub attacks.

"I am convinced that this will happen because I know President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is very concerned with this problem," he told The Associated Press. "The reason this is not being done immediately is because the political situation is still very sensitive."

Authorities have locked up more than 150 militants in the last three years, but officials balk at publicly identifying them as belonging to Jemaah Islamiyah or being motivated by sympathy with al-Qaida.

Part of the reluctance to ban Jemaah Islamiyah rests on its name, which means "Islamic community." Proponents of an Islamic state in secular Indonesia, who were brutally repressed under former dictator Suharto, fear that such a ban could mean they too will be targeted.

Mbai said that banning the group was essential in the fight against terror.

"We know there are many JI members who have got military training and have the ability to make bombs and use weapons who are still around, but the police cannot arrest them unless there is evidence they are involved in a particular act of terrorism," Mbai said.

"If JI is proscribed as a banned organization, then security agencies can take preventive steps," said Mbai, a two-star police general known to be close to Yudhoyono.

Jemaah Islamiyah's alleged spiritual leader, Abu Bakar Bashir, was sentenced to 30 months in jail earlier this month for conspiracy in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people. Analysts have said prosecutors would have been able to build a stronger case against the 66-year-old cleric if they had been able to directly charge him with heading the group.

Jemaah Islamiyah has been blamed for a string of terrorist attacks in Indonesia in recent years. They include the Bali bombings, a blast at Jakarta's J.W. Marriott hotel the following year that killed 12, and a suicide car bombing at the Australian Embassy last September that killed 10.

Two of its purported top leaders - Malaysians Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top - were allegedly central players in all three attacks and remain fugitives in Indonesia. Authorities have long warned they are planning more attacks.
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Looks like JI is rapidly expanding.

Suspect: Militants Team Up in Philippines

By JIM GOMEZ, Associated Press Writer

MANILA, Philippines - Two of Southeast Asia's deadliest Islamic militant groups are collaborating in the southern Philippines to train extremists in explosives, weapons and combat tactics, graduating 23 Indonesian recruits just over a week ago, a jailed terror suspect said Wednesday.

The jungles in the south also are providing refuge to terrorists involved in major attacks elsewhere in the region, including the 2002 bombings in a nightclub district on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, the prisoner told The Associated Press in an interview.

U.S. officials have long worried that unrest in the Philippines' impoverished Muslim homeland could be exploited by terror groups.

The suspect, Rohmat, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, provided a glimpse into the workings of the already known liaison between the Southeast Asian group Jemaah Islamiyah and the Philippines' Abu Sayyaf movement, which authorities say also has links to al-Qaida.

Rohmat, a 26-year-old Jemaah Islamiyah member who was captured March 16, said he roamed with Abu Sayyaf guerrillas for about two years, providing combat training, dodging military assaults together and overhearing their terror plots.

He spoke in Tagalog, a sign of the depth of his immersion in the Philippines. He said recruits at the Jabal Qubah training camp run by Jemaah Islamiyah on Mindanao island finished their studies just days before he was caught at a military checkpoint.

"There were 23 men who have just finished the courses. I heard they would be sent back home and others would stay behind to train a new batch," a handcuffed Rohmat said during a 30-minute interview held at a military safe house in the presence of officials.

He said a separate group of 10 Indonesians from Jemaah Islamiyah — including two suspects in the Bali bombings that killed 202 people — were with Abu Sayyaf guerrillas near the camp, but he said he didn't know why. He identified one as Dulmatin but declined to name the other.

Rohmat, whose homeland is the world's most populous Muslim nation, said he traveled to the southern Philippines as a trainee with other Indonesians in January 2000.

Two years later, he said, he became an instructor in Islam and martial arts, teaching Indonesians and local Abu Sayyaf recruits in Mindanao's Maguindanao province and on nearby Jolo island. But he denied allegations by intelligence officials that he taught Abu Sayyaf members how to build bombs, particularly the use of mobile phones to trigger homemade explosives.

Around 2002, Rohmat said, he was designated by Zulkifli, then the Indonesian head of Jemaah Islamiyah operations in the Philippines, to be the contact man for dealings with Abu Sayyaf, including training its recruits and staying close to its leaders, Khaddafy Janjalani and Abu Sulaiman.

Abu Sayyaf planned attacks on its own, independent of Jemaah Islamiyah, which only provided training, he said.

Rohmat bore a fresh scar on his right cheek that he said was suffered during a military air strike in November in which Janjalani and Sulaiman scampered out of a targeted house just in time.

He said he was at a meeting where Janjalani and Sulaiman plotted Feb. 14 bombings that killed eight people and injured more than 100 others in Manila and two cities in the south. The two leaders also have ordered new bombings during the Easter holiday in Manila and one of two southern cities, probably Davao, he said.

Officials said Monday that three Jemaah Islamiyah operatives were suspected of plotting with Abu Sayyaf to stage bombings this week.

Soldiers and police have beefed up security in shopping malls, churches and other crowded places to guard against bombings threatened by Abu Sayyaf as revenge for the deaths of 23 inmates killed by police in a botched jailbreak last week. Among them were three prominent guerrilla commanders.

Citing the worries about planned attacks, Britain's government warned its citizens Wednesday against traveling to the Philippines.

"There continue to be threats against Western interests and there is a danger of collateral damage from terrorist attacks targeted at others," the Foreign Office said.
there seems to have been inaccurate's the clarification

Indonesia won't outlaw terror group JI
March 23, 2005 - 5:54PM

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Indonesia has no plans to outlaw the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiah, a presidential spokesman says, despite earlier claims by a top security official that it was being considered.

Ansyaad Mbai, who heads the counter terrorism desk at Indonesia's Coordinating Ministry for Political and Security Affairs, this week said the government would ban JI, which is blamed for a string of terror attacks including the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings.

Mbai said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was very concerned about the al-Qaeda linked network, but had not acted amid fears that outlawing the group could trigger a backlash among Islamic conservatives.

But a spokesman for Yudhoyono, Andi Mallarangeng, said a ban on JI was not on the government's agenda, despite promises by the president to get tough on terrorism.

"We know nothing about that. We have no plans," he told AAP.

A spokesman for Indonesia's top security minister also denied there are plans to ban JI - a move which would make it easier for authorities to arrest suspected militant members of the organisation, which translates as "Islamic Community".

AdvertisementA senior western diplomat explained the inconsistency by saying Mbai was "outside the loop" on security affairs.

Yudhoyono has previously said the failure to ban JI did not hinder Indonesia's determination to fight terrorism and prosecute militants.

Terrorism expert Sidney Jones, who has revealed JI's inner workings for the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, said if Yudhoyono wanted to outlaw the group, he would first need to prepare the ground with a massive public relations campaign in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

"He could do it," she told AAP, saying he had succeeded pushing through recent unpopular fuel price hikes.

"It is doable, but there will be an inevitable counter-response from JI through linked groups like the Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia (Council of Islamic Holy Warriors), who would have their own spin about the government bowing to western pressure."

Western nations, including Australian and the United States, want Indonesia to follow the lead of the United Nations and list JI as a terrorist group.

Indonesian authorities have arrested more than 150 militants in the last three years, but officials are reluctant to link them to JI.

Many refuse the acknowledge the group even exists.

Jones said there was enough evidence to prove JI posed a security threat, including the recent trial of the group's alleged spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir, who was sentenced to 30 months in jail earlier this month for conspiracy in the Bali bombings.

"There is no doubt the police would like to question a number of people they have so far been unable to," she said.

"One of them might be Abu Bakar Bashir's son."

But banning JI would probably not lead to a swathe of arrests, because the government would be accused of a witchhunt and JI would probably just change its name, she said.

"Still, it would be such a significant step for the government, proving it was willing to take the bull by the horns," she said.

The Bali bombings killed 202 people including 88 Australians.

JI is also accused of a suicide blast at Jakarta's JW Marriott hotel in 2003 that killed 12 people, and the car bombing at the Australian Embassy last September which killed 11.
JI planning another Bali-scale terrorist attack, says paper

JAKARTA: Planning is well under way for a terrorist attack in Indonesia this year that could be as devastating as the 2002 Bali bombings, according to a document obtained by The Straits Times.

The document is a letter from a Sumatran-based operative of the Jemaah Islamiah which tells of militants being trained for suicide bombings in the capital.

It was written to the network’s top bomb maker Azahari Husin, a Malaysian who has been on the run after plotting three of Indonesia’s worst terrorist strikes.

A leading Indonesian security official and terrorism expert believes the note is authentic.

Dated Nov 26, 2004, the seven-page letter is written in pidgin Arabic, which is used by religious clerics in boarding schools here.

Ansyaad Mbai, a senior Indonesian counter-terrorism official who studied the letter, said: “It is a credible document and corroborates some of our findings in the field that there will be another bombing.”

They chose a letter to communicate because the Internet and telephones in the region are being monitored closely, a fact acknowledged in the document itself.

The letter also names Palembang and Padang in Sumatra as hiding places for “the tools” of a future terrorist operation.

Ansyaad, who heads the counter-terrorism desk in the Co-ordinating Ministry for Politics and Security, estimated that there were up to 30 JI members involved.

“Indonesia is facing an imminent Bali-style attack from these radicals,” he said. “The cells might be splintered but they are still being held together by a common jihadist ideological platform to build an Islamic Caliphate in the region.”

American officials here said that the document “tracks with some of the information we have been receiving”.

Lewis Amselem, the Deputy Chief of Mission in the US Embassy said: “It is in keeping with some of the things that JI militants have done before and are planning to do.” – The Straits Times/ANN
Jemaah Islamiyah Net Said Plotting Attacks

By EN-LAI YEOH, Associated Press Writer

SINGAPORE - A letter written by a member of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terror network said the group is planning an attack similar to the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings, a top Singaporean official said.

Minister of Home Affairs Wong Kan Seng said Indonesian authorities obtained the letter, but he did not elaborate further. Indonesia seized some documents after a suicide car bombing at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in September that killed 10, but it was unclear if the letter was among them.

"A letter recovered in Indonesia, written by a JI member, said that 12 operatives were ready to be martyrs and that plans for a Bali-style attack were underway," Wong said in a speech Monday evening to intelligence officials.

Wong said the letter reflected efforts of terrorists to overcome setbacks and stay a step ahead of the law by using different forms of communication.

"In order to communicate clandestinely, terrorists exploited the anonymity of prepaid phone cards and the Internet. However, when they suspected that these communications were being monitored and their activities and operatives compromised, they reverted to couriers and old fashion letter-writing," Wong said.

He also said terror groups have begun to use Caucasians and converts to Islam who do not fit stereotypical terrorist profiles.

"Especially valued are those operatives who hold passports of countries that enjoy visa-free facilities with a target country," he said.

Jemaah Islamiyah has been blamed for a host of attacks and plots throughout Southeast Asia, including the 2002 Bali nightclub attacks that killed 202 people, a blast at Jakarta's J.W. Marriott hotel the following year that killed 12, and the Australian embassy bombing.

Wong spoke at a promotions ceremony for Singapore's Internal Security Department, a clandestine unit that was largely responsible for breaking up an alleged plot by Jemaah Islamiyah to blow up the U.S. Embassy, a U.S. Naval facility and other Western targets in 2001. Nearly 40 alleged operatives were arrested.

"Our close relationship with the U.S., and our actions against the JI and al-Qaida, not only in Singapore but in cooperation with other countries, make us a priority target," Wong said.
wtf, why not, these people are criminals, because they cause terror in the name of religion. they be should destroyed.
Terrorists training in Central Java...

Military-style training probed

Suherdjoko, The Jakarta Post, Semarang

The police said they would continue their investigation into a military-style training program allegedly carried out by a hard-line group at a tourist resort in Central Java, although the activity has ceased.

Central Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Chaerul Rasyid said that a thorough investigation of the training which lasted for several weeks was needed to prevent disturbances to local security and political stability.

"Although they (training participants) have already left, we have not identified the goal of the training. We need to know whether it was intended for state defense or other purposes. If it was conducted for state defense, there is no problem. But if it was intended for other purposes that could cause unrest among the locals, we will take action. Most importantly, we have given a preliminary warning," Chaerul said here on Monday.

The military-style training that took place in a forest and plantation areas in Kopeng, near Salatiga, and involved 24 civilians was detected by intelligence officers from the National Police a few days ago. The training activities were allegedly organized by the Indonesian Mujahidin Council (MMI) which is chaired by Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, who was recently sentenced to four years in prison for his link to the Bali and JW Marriott Hotel bombings in 2002 and 2003 respectively.

Chaerul said that the police would be conducting a comprehensive inquiry into who were involved in the training and what the purpose of the training was.

He said that the training should be open to the public if it was indeed conducted for a good purpose, and should not have been held secretly because it had caused confusion and disturbance among locals.

MMI quickly denied the allegation, saying it had no military-style trainings since it had been concentrating on sending volunteers to tsunami-devastated Aceh.

If there are military-style training activities in the mountainous area they were not conducted by MMI, said Wahyudin, an executive of MMI.

He added MMI was focusing on sending volunteers to Aceh and, so far, it had deployed 120 volunteers to help with rehabilitation work in the province.
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