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|2019-07-11 Southeast Asia|
|[ENGLISH.ALARABIYA.NET] Philippine security forces confirmed Wednesday that at least one Filipino "" was behind a deadly attack last month, in a first for the Asian country.|
Norman Lasuca and one other yet to be identified suspect blew themselves up outside a military camp on the remote southern island of Jolo on June 28 in an attack that also killed three soldiers and two civilians, the police and military said.
"We can now confirm... the incidence of the first in the Philippines, perpetrated by a Filipino in the person of Norman Lasuca," military Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo told a news conference.
The Jolo bombing marks a worrying escalation of militancy driven by the influence of the ISIS group in Southeast Asia, security experts earlier told AFP.
A decades-old insurgency in the southern Philippines has killed tens of thousands.
But s have been used extremely rarely, with blamed for the few that have been carried out.
National police Bernard Banac described last month’s bombing as "a locally initiated attack organized by the group", a Jolo-based gang of engaged in kidnappings and bombings.
"The report as claimed by ISIS that they are the ones responsible for this is still up to validation and that remains to be seen," he told s, referring to ISIS by an alternative name.
Philippine authorities said the two suspected Jolo bombers’ remains were tested for DNA, and one matched that of Lasuca’s mother and brother, who are both Tausugs, the predominant ethnic group in Jolo.
Experts are still attempting to identify the second bomber, Banac said.
"Before, we only heard of IED (improvised ) attacks, remote-controlled attacks but this time an individual as a full-fledged suicide bomber," Arevalo said.
"We (security forces) will have adjustments in techniques, tactics and procedures given this development," he said.
"We consider this to be an isolated case," he added.
he acknowledged that "the security environment in our country has changed" and civilians should help the security forces combat the new threat.
They must ensure prospective recruits "won’t be radicalized by terrorist groups (who are) only waiting for the right time and individual to bring to the road of extremism," he said.
Arevalo said Lasuca’s mother described the son, in his early twenties, as a former "battered" child who endured beatings meted out by his father.
|2019-06-29 Southeast Asia|
|[AnNahar] An attack on a special Philippine army counter-terrorism unit left three soldiers dead and nine others in the southern Philippines on Friday, military spokesmen and witnesses told AFP.|
Unknown suspects targeted the unit's temporary headquarters on the island of Jolo, a stronghold of -linked s.
"It was a bomb and a firefight," army Colonel Ramon Zagala told AFP, adding the attackers' identities were not immediately known.
An AFP on the scene saw a blood-soaked man slumped on a tricycle on a street also stained with blood in front of the temporary headquarters of the army's 1,500-member First Brigade Combat team.
The Philippines has renewed its campaign against the in Jolo this year after at least one suspected attacked the island's Roman Catholic cathedral, killing 21 people.
Major Arvin Arcinas, the region's military , said three army members were killed in Friday's attack, with nine other soldiers were .
He said he could not confirm if there were civilian casualties and could not say what kind of explosives were used.
Jolo and other remote areas of the southern Philippines are home to numerous s including the Abu Sayyaf, which is notorious for kidnappings and bombings.
The s, who demand large ransoms and have beheaded several hostages, have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
The army deployed the specially trained unit in the Jolo town of Indanan four weeks ago.
In the same week, a Dutch birdwatcher held for years by the Abu Sayyaf was killed in Jolo during a firefight between his kidnappers and soldiers sent to rescue him.
ISIS claims responsibility for Philippine army camp bombing that left 5 dead
[Reuters via Task & Purpose] An explosion at a military base in the restive southern Philippines on Friday killed five people, including three soldiers, and wounded nine others in what Islamic State said was an attack by its suicide bombers.
The military said the blast occurred at around noon at a base on Jolo island, a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, a splintered militant network notorious for kidnapping and piracy and for its pledge of allegiance to Islamic State.
Islamic State said via its Amaq news agency that its fighters had infiltrated the base strapped with explosives and killed or wounded 100 soldiers. It posted an image of two young men standing beside a black Islamic State flag, wearing what appeared to be vests designed to hold explosives.
Neither the claim nor the authenticity of the photograph could be immediately verified.
The incident will be a major setback for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's goal of wiping out Abu Sayyaf, for which he has created a special infantry division on Jolo to be comprised of 4,500 troops by 2022.
There was no immediate comment from Duterte's office.
|2019-06-02 Terror Networks|
The woman, Nisrine Assad Ibrahim, better known by her doom-inducing nom de guerre, Umm Sayyaf, has reportedly helped in joint CIA-Kurdish efforts to track down Mr Baghdadi by providing detailed accounts of his movements over the years, including the locations of safe houses as well as the obscure traveling routes that he takes.
Miss Sayyaf, 29-years-old, and believed to be Iraqi, was captured in a 2015 US Delta Force raid in Syria, in which her husband, ’s then-second in command and the group’s so-called oil minister, , was killed.
Since being detained, Miss Sayyaf has reportedly spent many hours helping American use maps to determine where Baghdadi may be bogged down.
"They were very polite [the American ] and wore civilian clothes," she told the Guardian, "I showed them everything I knew."
In February 2016, Miss Sayyaf is said to have provided the location of a house in the northern Iraqi city of where she believed Baghdadi was hiding out. Yet, despite being so close to bagging the world’s most wanted man, Kurdish officials told the Guardian that the US did not want to carry out an on the home for fear of killing civilians in the tightly packed neighbourhood.
"I told them where the house was," Umm Sayyaf is reported as having said.
"I knew he’d been there because it was one of the houses that was provided for him, and one of the places he liked the most," she told the Guardian.
|2019-05-18 Southeast Asia|
|[Daily Mail, where America gets its news] |
Some 29 suspects were rounded up this month alone, with 60 in all detained since the start of the year in raids across the Southeast Asian nation, they said.
Eight other suspects had been killed in confrontations with authorities, police said, including the wife of a militant who blew up herself and a child following a dramatic standoff at their home in March.
Some arrested suspects were skilled bomb makers and had fought alongside the jihadist group in Syria, as well as members of local extremist network Jemaah Anshurat Daulah (JAD), police said.
JAD has pledged allegiance to IS and was blamed for a wave of suicide bombings at churches in Indonesia's second-biggest city Surabaya last year.
[Jpost] The U.S. embassy in Jakarta has issued a security alert ahead of election results due on Wednesday, as Indonesian authorities have arrested nearly 30 suspected militants, including some who police say are able to detonate bombs using Wi-Fi networks.
The embassy advised U.S. citizens to avoid areas where large demonstrations may occur in Jakarta, and in other cities including Surabaya in East Java and Medan in North Sumatra, in a statement that was dated on Friday, May 17.
Indonesian authorities have said they are heightening security ahead of May 22, when the official result of last month's presidential election will be announced.
Indonesian National Police spokesman, Muhammad Iqbal, told reporters in a briefing on Friday that police this month have arrested 29 suspects linked to Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) - the largest Islamic State-linked group in the country - and confiscated at least five homemade bombs in various locations across Java and North Sulawesi.
Some of the suspects have had paramilitary training and went to Syria as foreign fighters, Iqbal said.
Indonesian police also revealed that some of the suspects have learned how to use Wi-Fi to detonate explosive devices, but it was not immediately clear how advanced their plans were.
Detonating bombs using a Wi-Fi network is considered a new technique, Dedi Prasetyo, another National Police spokesman, told Reuters on Tuesday, and gets around using phone signals, which can be jammed during rallies involving large crowds.
"If there is (cell phone) jammer, then phones are not operable but the Wi-Fi signal will not be disturb, especially when using signal amplifier," Prasetyo said.
The police spokesmen did not answer or return phone calls on Saturday to get more information.
The police arrested EY, a local leader of JAD in Bekasi, near the capital Jakarta, on May 8 in the capital for plotting attacks during next week's announcement of the presidential election. The police identified the suspect only by his initials.
JAD does not have an official spokesman, and it is not known if any of the suspects have retained legal representation.
The arrests are part of the authority's efforts to tighten security ahead of an announcement by the General Election Commission (KPU) on May 22, when nearly 32,000 police and military personnel will be on standby in Jakarta.
The announcement is expected to confirm unofficial counts by private pollsters that showed incumbent President Joko Widodo as having won the race, a result which has been publicly disputed by his contender, ex-general Prabowo Subianto.
Prabowo's supporters have pledged to protest peacefully if the official result confirms Widodo's victory, and large groups of people could be out in the streets after the announcement.
|2019-05-08 Southeast Asia|
|[AlAhram] Indonesian anti-terrorism police have one Islamist and detained six suspected of planning attacks on officers with firearms or s under the cover of rallies tied to recent elections, a police said.|
The suspects were detained after weekend raids in Bekasi in West Java and one died after being shot when he threw a bomb at police, national police Dedi Prasetyo said.
"They were planning to take police firearms and use them to commit terrorism, whether by becoming s or performing other attacks that could be fatal for protesters," Prasetyo said, adding that explosives had also been seized.
President Joko Widodo declared victory after the April 17 election based on unofficial results from private pollsters, but his challenger, former general Prabowo Subianto, has complained of widespread cheating and insists he won.
Prabowo has said that if his complaints were not addressed and an official count due by May 22 confirmed his loss, it could trigger "people power" style protests.
Prasetyo said the suspected were linked to the -inspired Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) group, the largest Islamic State-linked group in Indonesia, which was legally disbanded last year for "conducting terrorism" and affiliating itself with the foreign group.
He said the suspects intended to use explosives and firearms to imitate the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which carried out a series of attacks and bombings across India's financial capital.
Indonesian police have had considerable success in stopping major attacks since the deadly 2002 Bali bombings, though analysts warn against complacency.
"Indonesia has been lucky thus far that its generally have had too little experience to think big," analyst Sidney Jones from the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict said in a recent report.
"With a little imagination and better leadership, these pro-ISIS cells could do far greater damage," said Jones.
In March, the wife and son of a suspected blew themselves up in their home on the island of Sumatra after hours of tense negotiations with counter-terrorism officers.
Indonesia also saw a series of gruesome attacks in the city of Surabaya a year ago, when whole families, including children as young as nine, strapped on explosive vests and blew themselves up at churches and s, killing more than 30 people.
|2019-03-15 Southeast Asia|
|[AnNahar] Indonesian police said Thursday they had uncovered a huge stash of explosives linked to a terror suspect whose wife blew up herself and a child following a dramatic standoff at their home.|
The discovery of some 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of assembled explosives and bomb-making materials raised fears that a major attack was being planned, a month before national elections and less than a year after Indonesia was rocked by a wave of deadly s.
The early Wednesday morning came after police had the husband, Abu Hamzah, who was identified as a member of Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).
The -linked jihadist network has been blamed for attacks last May in Indonesia's second-biggest city, Surabaya, the deadliest in years to rock the world's biggest majority nation.
Officers surrounded the arrested 's home in Sibolga on Sumatra island when the confrontation began.
During a nearly 12-hour standoff, the wife lobbed an at security personnel, wounding a police officer, authorities said.
They later found parts of a woman's corpse and that of at least one child. Police initially said they thought two of the couple's children might have been killed.
"We're still trying to formally identify his wife because the body isn't one piece," said national police Dedi Prasetyo.
"A total of 300 kilogrammes of bombs and bomb-making materials were discovered," Prasetyo said.
On Thursday, police destroyed materials in a controlled in a field.
University of Indonesia terrorism expert Stanislaus Riyanta said the large stash hinted that a serious attack was being planned.
"This is frightening," he told AFP.
"The impact of bombs depends on the materials used. But this amount -- 300 kilogrammes -- if used all at one time, could certainly be very destructive and deadly, especially in a densely populated area."
The arrest of Hamzah, who police said was a skilled bomb maker, comes days after authorities arrested two other terror suspects in other parts of the country. Police said all three were connected.
Last year, two families carried out attacks at churches in Surabaya, killing a dozen people and children of the attackers, including two s.
On Thursday, a Jakarta court sentenced several linked to the Surabaya bombings with prison sentences ranging from about three to 10 years.
Since the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed over 200 people including scores of tourists, Indonesia has seen a string of deadly attacks that have tested its long-held reputation for religious tolerance.
|2019-01-29 Southeast Asia|
Two s tore through the cathedral on the -majority island of Jolo yesterday, killing worshipers at Sunday mass and security forces in an attack claimed by the terror group.
Authorities say the so-called Ajang-Ajang faction is a small band of several dozen that most likely carried out the bombing, the Philippines’ worst in years, in an act of .
"Last year their leader was killed. There have been persistent reports that they will retaliate," regional military Lieutenant Colonel Gerry Besana tells AFP.
"Yes, we saw them in the CCTV. It was the brother of the leader who was killed," he says referring to footage from outside the cathedral. "He was seen with two other members of Ajang-Ajang."
Security forces say the group is composed of relatives of Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom group members who have been killed in with the government.
The vote was the result of negotiations started in the 1990s with the nation's largest rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and will give it considerable power over the so-called Bangsamoro region.
The IS claim, in a formal communique, said two s had detonated s, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activities.
But a military report said the second bomb was left in the utility box of a in the parking area outside the church. Police said they believe the explosives were detonated remotely, but did elaborate.
|2019-01-27 Southeast Asia|
|[IsraelTimes] Attack during Sunday Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel occurs on Jolo island, long troubled by terror organization.|
Two bombs outside a Roman Catholic cathedral on a southern Philippine island where are active, killing at least 19 people and wounding nearly 50 during a Sunday Mass, officials said.
The first bomb went off in or near the Jolo cathedral in the , followed by a second blast outside the compound as government forces were responding to the attack, security officials said.
Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde said that at least 19 people died and 48 were . Police and military reports said the casualties included both troops and civilians.
No one has immediately .
The attack came nearly a week after minority s in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation endorsed a new autonomous region in the southern Philippines in hopes of ending nearly five decades of a separatist rebellion that has left 150,000 people dead.
Although most of the areas approved it, voters in Sulu province, where Jolo is located, rejected it. The province is home to a rival rebel faction that’s opposed to the deal as well as the Abu Sayyaf group, which is not part of any
As soldiers responded, a second device was detonated in the car park.
The local officials say the first blast happened at 08:45 local time (00:45 GMT) inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which has been hit by bombs in the past.
The second explosion was shortly afterwards on the doorstep of the church.
Local police initially put the death toll at 27 but later lowered it to 20, saying there was double counting in earlier official reports.
Most of the victims are civilians.
The referendum was the result of a peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
|2018-11-12 Africa North|
|[AlAhram] Egypt’s official gazette published on Sunday the names of 164 members of the hard-line Islamist movement al-Gamaa al-Islamiya |
The court placed the group, which waged an armed insurgency in the 1990s but renounced violence more than a decade ago, on a "terrorist entities" list, and placed 164 of its members on the terrorism list for five years.
The list includes the group's leading members Assem Abdel-Maged,
"These are judicial precautionary measures that seek to preserve, protect and [serve] the interest of the entire society," said the court.
The court's decision was based on a memo prepared by the High State Security Prosecution that says many leaders and members of al-Gamaa al-Islamiya "renounced their previous initiative to stop violence and declared their adherence to the ideology of the organization that justifies violent acts," and regard the president as an infidel for failing to abide by Islamic Sharia law, the official gazette said.
Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya was implicated in the 1981 of Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat before they renounced violence more than a decade ago.
Morsi, a leader of the group who was removed from office after a one-year rule, is now serving a 20-year sentence after being convicted for involvement in the killing of protesters during demonstrations that culminated in his ouster, and a 25-year jail term over spying for Egyptian authorities banned the Brotherhood in 2013 and declared it a terrorist organization.
|Anbar (IraqiNews.com) ‐ Two leaders were killed Wednesday in an artillery shelling by the Popular Mobilization Forces on the Syrian city of al-Baghuz on the border with Iraq.|
"Artillery shells were fired against three hotbeds of Islamic State near the Syrian city of al-Baghuz, leaving two Islamic State leaders dead," Alghad Press website quoted deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces as saying in a statement.
"The pair, codenamed as and Abu Laith, were standing behind the recent attacks against the Syrian Democratic Forces stationed on the Iraqi-Syrian border," added the statement.
On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi stressed the need for tightening security along the border with neighboring Syria to eradicate terrorist groups scattered there.
|2018-07-15 Southeast Asia|
|[PRESSTV] Indonesian anti-terrorism officers have three suspected -linked during a firefight in the central city of Yogyakarta on the island of Java.|
National police Mohammad Iqbal said in a statement on Saturday that the officers from the elite unit had shot the suspected after being attacked with "sharp weapons and a firearm."
He added that the three men were believed to be members of a local -affiliated network, known as Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which is blacklisted by the US Department of State as a terrorist organization.
Two officers also suffered arm injuries and police seized four machetes and a revolver.
The majority- Southeast Asian country has been facing mounting violence in recent years.
In May, around 26 people were killed and dozens injured in multiple bombings in the country’s second-largest city, Surabaya, the deadliest attack in over a decade.
Police linked the bombings on churches and outside a in Surabaya to JAD.
|2018-06-23 Southeast Asia|
|[IsraelTimes] Aman Abdurrahman convicted for in Starbucks cafe attributed to Islamic State|
Indonesian Aman Abdurrahman
Heavily armed police guarded the hearing at a Jakarta court ‐ which had earlier found Abdurrahman guilty of ing the attack that killed four ‐ as it ordered his execution.
"(The defendant) has been proven to have committed a criminal act of terrorism," said judge Akhmad Jaini, who also cited Abdurrahman’s involvement in other attacks for handing down the "He will be sentenced to death."
Executions are carried out by firing squad in the world’s biggest -majority country, which has long struggled with Islamist terrorism.
The assault in the capital two years ago saw security forces battle gun-toting near the cafe where a suicide bomber detonated his explosives.
Last month, prosecutors demanded that Abdurrahman be handed a death sentence for his role in the attack, which was the first claimed by IS in Southeast Asia.
Considered the de facto head of all IS supporters in Indonesia, Abdurrahman ‐ believed to be 46 ‐ is also the spiritual leader of local network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).
Authorities have said JAD was involved in the 2016 attack and a recent wave of s in Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya. Two families ‐ including girls aged nine and 12 ‐ blew themselves up at churches and a last month, killing 13.
Authorities have not charged Abdurrahman ‐ who was already in jail on a separate terror conviction ‐ over the Surabaya attacks.
Despite being imprisoned since 2010, Abdurrahman has recruited to join IS, is thought to have been in communication with leaders of the jihadist group, and is the main translator for IS propaganda in Indonesia, according to analysts and authorities.
|2018-05-14 Southeast Asia|
|[Al Jazeera] At least 13 people were killed and more than 40 in separate s by one family on three churches in Indonesia's second-largest city.|
Police said the bombings were carried out by six family members, including two young children, on Sunday in Surabaya, about 800km west of Indonesia's capital, Jakarta. The blasts occurred minutes apart as worshippers headed into the churches for services.
"The father and one of the sons did the attack on the first church, the mother with two young children under the age of 10 committed the second attack. Two younger boys around the age of 16 committed the third attack," Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen, reporting from Surabaya, cited the city's police chief as saying.
"Several more bombs were found in two different churches that didn't explode."
At least seven people plus the six bombers died in the attacks in Surabaya, according to police.
The bombings were the worst to target churches in Indonesia since a series of attacks on Christmas Eve in 2000 killed 15 people and nearly 100.
"This act is barbaric and beyond the limits of humanity, causing victims among members of society, the police and even innocent children," President Joko Widodo said during a visit to the scene.
A spokesperson for the country's intelligence agency said Sunday's bombings were suspected to have been carried out by an -inspired group, Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).
, JAD's leader, pledged allegiance to of Iraq and the Levant ( ) in 2014.
The group has committed smaller attacks over the last few years, but Sunday's was the largest and most coordinated in Indonesia in the last decade.
National police chief Tito Karnavian said the father detonated a , two sons aged 18 and 16 used a for their attack, and the mother and her two daughters wore explosives. He said the family had returned to Indonesia from Syria, where until recently controlled significant territory.
The wife of one of the victims said the attack took place shortly before the Sunday service was about to start.
"They were about to celebrate mass. My husband was opening doors and welcoming people," she said.
No church services will be allowed because the authorities suspect more attacks could happen.
The bombings come days after prisoners linked to killed five members of an elite counter-terrorism force during a 36-hour standoff at a high security jail on the outskirts of the capital.
Islamic State claims deadly Indonesia church attacks
[IsraelTimes] The group was responsible for s against three churches in Indonesia that killed at least 11 people on Sunday, it says via its propaganda agency Amaq.
"Three martyrdom attacks killed 11 and at least 41 among church guards and Christians," it says via the Telegram messaging app.
The jihadist group’s toll tallied with that of police following the seemingly coordinated attacks against three churches in the city of Surabaya at around 7:30 a.m. local time.
IS has for several recent attacks in Indonesia, most of them carried out by its affiliate Jamaah Ansharut Daulah.
|2018-05-13 Southeast Asia|
|[AlAhram] Suicide bombers attacked three churches in Indonesia's second-largest city of Surabaya on Sunday, killing at least three people and wounding 15 others, police said.|
Indonesia is the world's largest -majority country and has seen a recent resurgence in homegrown militancy.
Police told media the attacks were carried out by " s".
"The victims are still being identified," said Frans Barung Mangera, East Java police .
Media reports said at one church, a woman with a younger child and a teenager had just entered the church and was being questioned by security when the bomb .
Television images showed toppled s and debris scattered around the entrance of one church and police cordoning off areas as crowds gathered.
Authorities were also investigating whether there was an at a fourth church.
Police ordered the temporary closure of all churches in Surabaya, and a large food festival in the city was cancelled.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.
The bombings come days after Islamist prisoners killed five members of an elite counter-terrorism force during a 36-hour standoff at a high security jail on the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta.
Indonesia has had some major successes tackling militancy inspired by al Qaeda's attacks on the United States in 2001.
But there has been a resurgence of Islamist activity in recent years, some of it linked to the rise of group.
The most serious incident was in January 2016 when four suicide bombers and attacked a shopping area in central Jakarta.
Churches have also been targeted previously, including near-simultaneous attacks on churches there at Christmas in 2000 that killed about 20 people.
The first attack struck the Santa Maria Roman Catholic Church in Surabaya, killing four people, including one or more bombers, police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera told reporters at the scene. He said two police officers were among a total of 41 wounded.
The blast was followed by a second explosion minutes later at the Christian Church of Diponegoro and a third at the city’s Pantekosta Church, Mangera said.
A senior police official said the bombings were carried out by at least five suicide bombers, including a veiled woman who had two children with her. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.
A witness described the woman with children, saying she was carrying two bags at the Diponegoro church.
“At first officers blocked them in front of the churchyard but the woman ignored and forced her way inside. Suddenly she hugged a civilian then (the bomb) exploded,” said a civilian guard named Antonius.
“I saw two men riding a motorbike forced their way into the Santa Maria churchyard. One was wearing black pants and one with a backpack,” said Samsia, who uses a single name. “Soon after that the explosion happened.”
National police spokesman Setyo Wasisto announced that police fatally shot four suspected militants and arrested two others early Sunday in West Java towns. It wasn’t clear if the shootings were connected with the church attacks.
“They have trained in order to attack police,” Wasisto said, identifying the militants as members of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, or JAD. The network of about two dozen extremist groups has been implicated in a number of attacks in Indonesia over the past year. It pledges allegiance to Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The latest attacks in predominantly Muslim Indonesia came days after police ended a riot and hostage-taking at a detention center near Jakarta that left six officers and three inmates dead. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility.
Christians, many of whom from the ethnic Chinese minority, make up about 9 percent of Indonesia’s 260 million people.
|2018-04-25 Southeast Asia|
|[ASIASENTINEL] In the early morning of Feb. 11, a congregation of more than 100 worshippers packed into the small St. Lidwina Catholic church in Sleman, Yogyakarta, 530 km from Jakarta, to take part in the weekly Sunday Mass.|
Little more than 30 minutes of the service had passed when a young man yielding a meter-long samurai sword burst in through the main entrance and began attacking terror-stricken worshippers indiscriminately, leaving four people seriously injured as others ran for their lives before the perpetrator was shot in the leg and The attack exposed the lingering threat from homegrown in a country that has largely avoided the scourge of Islamist terrorism since the collapse of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) in the late 2000s. In the years since, several newly-formed groups along with JI’s offshoots have remained active beneath the radar, posing only a latent threat to security in the world’s most populous nation.
The risk of returning ISIS fighters from war zones in Syria, Iraq and Marawi adds an extra dimension to the threat. Returnees will be battle-hardened and trained in combat, as well as possessing tactical know-how and in some cases bomb-making skills. At least 500 Indonesians have traveled to fight alongside ISIS in Syria and Iraq while more than 30 are thought to have participated in the Marawi conflict.
|2018-03-25 Southeast Asia|
|[Ynet] Malaysian police have seven men with links to the group who were planning attacks on non- places of worship and other targets, authorities said on Saturday.|
Six Malaysians were arrested in Johor state, north of Singapore, while a seventh, a Filipino member of the ISIS-linked group, was detained in the eastern state of Sabah, in multiple operations between Feb. 27 and Mar. 15, Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said in a statement.
He said the six detained in Johor were members of an ISIS cell and included a 37-year-old technician who recruited new and was believed to be the of planned attacks on non- places of worship in the state's capital.
|2018-03-12 Southeast Asia|
|[AlAhram] At least 44 pro- were killed and 26 more were when Philippine soldiers shelled positions held by the rebels in southern Maguindanao province, the army said on Sunday.|
The fighting, initially with about 50 members of the (BIFF), broke out in a remote village in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town from Thursday morning and lasted the following day, said Lt. Col. Gerry Besana.
A soldier was slightly , the army said in a separate statement.
The number of BIFF members killed and was based on intelligence information, Besana said. The military did not recover any enemy bodies, he said.
Besana said the military launched artillery attacks with air support as the number of BIFF fighters had risen to about one hundred during the fighting.
The military classifies the BIFF, which it said has about 300 members, as a terrorist organization, along with the and Maute groups.
"Seventy were killed and injured (on the BIFF side), we are still pursuing about 200 more," Besana said, adding that the clash had displaced about 500 families.
The in southern Philippines were regrouping, retraining and recruiting new members for another attack elsewhere after occupying the southern city of Marawi for five months last year, according to the army.
|2018-03-11 Africa North|
|[AlAhram] A Giza criminal court sentenced on Saturday 10 people to death in a case known in the media as the "Imbaba|
The court also sentenced five others to life imprisonment.
Saturday’s sentence comes after a preliminary death sentence issued by the court in late January pending the Grand Mufti’s non-binding opinion.
Referring death sentences to the Grand Mufti is a legal requirement before the sentenced is finalised, although the Mufti’s religious opinion is not binding.
The defendants were being tried for establishing an outlawed group from 2013 till March 2015 with the aim of attacking state institutions, harming national unity, targeting Copts, disturbing public order, endangering society, attacking police and security forces, and possessing unlicensed arms.
|2018-03-06 Southeast Asia|
|[ARABNEWS] Indonesia’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights said is ineligible for house arrest, one of the options the government said it was considering as leniency to the ailing .|
"House arrest is only available for a defendant who is standing trial, while he (Bashir) is no longer a defendant. He is a prisoner, convicted to serve time in prison," Ade Kusmanto, a for the ministry’s Directorate General of Correction, told Arab News.
Last week, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu told journalists at the state palace that house arrest for the is very likely, as the government is weighing up which form of clemency it could give to Bashir. The suffers from pooling of blood on his legs, a condition which requires him to undergo regular medical check-ups.
On Mar. 1, Bashir was taken to a hospital in Jakarta for treatment which his lawyer, Achmad Michdan, said had been scheduled for Nov. 2017.
President Joko Widodo said the government gave permission for Bashir to go to the hospital on humanitarian grounds.
Kusmanto said the can ask the president for clemency, given that he is in poor health and will become an octogenarian this year. Another possibility is to demand parole, for which he will be eligible in June 2019 when he will have served two-thirds of his 15-year prison sentence.
Talking to Arab News, Michdan said his client rules out both the options since applying for either one would mean that Bashir pleads guilty to the charges against him.
Bashir was convicted in 2011 for supporting paramilitary training in Aceh, and the is described as the ideological icon of Jamaah Islamia (JI), including those who carried out s in Bali in 2003.
"Bashir believes he is innocent because he was merely observing his faith as a . He was collecting money to fund training and travel for those who wanted to go as mujahideen to Paleostine. He wasn’t rebelling against the country," Michdan said.
Michdan said that it should be possible for the government to "relocate the place" where Bashir serves his sentence from Gunung Sindur prison in Bogor, West Java, to his house in Solo, Central Java.
He cited examples of former Jakarta governor Basuki TjaHajja Purnama, who is serving his two-year sentence for blasphemy at a special police detention instead of a correctional facility, and East Timor resistance fighter Xanana Gusmao who had been imprisoned in Jakarta when he was fighting for East Timor’s independence from Indonesia. He was then confined to a house in Central Jakarta in 1999.
|2018-02-28 Terror Networks|
|[AlAhram] The US Department of State designated on Wednesday "-Egypt" as a terrorist group as part of new designations of groups and individuals in several countries, saying it will continue to target and "deny it access to the US financial system." |
The designation also included 40 leaders and groups in Tunisia, Somalia, Nigeria, Bangladesh and the Philippines.
"These designations are part of a larger comprehensive plan to defeat [ ] in coordination with the 75-member global coalition to defeat the group," a statement said.
The -Egypt group has for terrorist attacks in Egypt's Wahat region, the Nile Delta and Upper Egypt.
-Egypt most recently claimed an attack by a gunman on a Coptic church in Helwan, south of Cairo, which killed nine people in December.
In April 2014, the US designated the North Sinai-based affiliate Ansar Beit al-Maqdis as a terrorist organization.
In January, the US State Department placed on its terror list two other Egyptian terrorist groups, Hasm and , which Egyptian authorities have linked to the organization.
Manila Hails US Move to Blacklist Local IS-Linked Groups
[AnNahar] The Philippines hailed on Wednesday Washington's decision to blacklist two local pro- groups, including one which occupied the southern city of Marawi last year, triggering a months-long battle.
The US State Department and the Department of Treasury designated the Maute group and the Dawlatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Masrik as "terrorist organizations" on Tuesday, blocking US-based assets belonging to them or their supporters and barring Americans from dealing with them.
"The (move) is an affirmation of what Philippine authorities already know -- that the Maute Group and the Dawlah-Islamiya are terrorist groups that need to be dealt with decisively using the full force of the law," a statement by the defence ministry in Manila said.
"They will be denied access to the US financial system and will face sanctions as may be deemed appropriate, making it more difficult for them to conduct their activities in the Philippines and abroad."
Militants from the Maute group were routed from Marawi last October after a five-month battle sparked by its bid to establish an IS caliphate in the largely Catholic country's southern Mindanao region.
The US, a long-time defence ally, helped Philippine forces with intelligence input, including reconnaissance flights, during the fighting which claimed more than 1,100 lives and reduced large parts of the city to rubble.
However the Philippine military warned last week that remaining members of the group have recruited about 200 to mount another attempt.
The Dawlatul Islamiyah, or Dawlah-Islamiya as designated by the Philippine defence ministry, is a smaller faction also based in Mindanao.
"We are profoundly committed to preventing ISIS from gaining (a) foothold in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia, and we should continue working together on this objective," Philippine Foreign Undersecretary Ernesto Abella told s, using an acronym for IS.
Brigadier-General Bienvenido Datuin, for the Philippine military, said the US move would boost local counter-terrorism efforts.
"(A) specific advantage... is the checking of money trail, financial sources, logistics lines and conduits of terror groups in foreign countries that may have connections with local violent s," he said.
Other armed Philippine groups that have made the US terror blacklist in previous years include the New People's Army, waging a decades-old Maoist armed rebellion, and the , which linked up with the Maute in Marawi last year.
|2018-02-26 Southeast Asia|
|[RAPPLER] The widow of notorious Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) leader Marwan has been on Sunday, February 25, the Philippine National Police announced.|
Juromee Dongon was arrested by police operatives in an operation in Tubod, Lanao del Norte early Sunday morning.
Dongon was married to a of the notorious kidnap-for-ransom group, Khadaffy Janjalani. After his death in 2006 she married Malaysian bombmaker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, who was killed in 2015 in the Philippines, police said.
Aside from Dongon, arrested were her sister Lorilie Atta y Dongon and SPO4 Andy Atta, Lorilie's husband.
Confiscated from the 3 were:
One fragmentation grenade
6 blasting caps
One blasting cap assembly
One electric detonating cord
One non-electric detonating cord
One plastic container
Two sling bags
One 9mm Glock 17 pistol issued by the PNP
3 magazines for the Glock 17 pistol
37 live ammunition for the 9mm pistol
"[Dongon] assists, associates, networks and supports terrorist groups," regional police Superintendent Lemuel Gonda told Agence -Presse.
"Juromee is linked with Abu Sayyaf during the time of Janjalani and then later Jemaah Islamiyah," he added, referring to a Southeast Asian group.
Marwan was a leading member of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and a suspect in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people as well as in two deadly Philippine attacks.
He died in a raid in the southern Philippines that also left 44 police commandos dead. The US had offered a $5 million bounty for him.
Father of Romeo Dongon arrested
In a separate operation, cops also arrested Romeo Dongon, alias "Faisal" at Sitio Tinago, San Juan, Baroy, Lanao del Norte, and found illegal firearms in his possession. Dongon's daughter Norein Dongon Santos was also arrested.
Romeo Dongon is the father of Renierlo Dongon, who was the terrorist who had a love affair with a police official, Superintendent Cristina Nobleza. It can be recalled that Nobleza and Dongon were arrested back in April 2017, when the two attempted to evade capture during a police operation against the Abu Sayyaf in Bohol. (READ: Cop detained over alleged plot to rescue ASG in Bohol)
The team was composed of operatives from the regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Special Action Force, provincial and municipal cops.
Cops seized the following from the house:
One Colt MK1V .45 caliber pistol
One magazine of caliber .45 bullets
3 pieces of caliber .45 cartridges
One M61 fragmentation hand grenade
One gray empty blasting cup
One two-feet yellow detonating cord
Cops also confiscated a Samsung tablet, a Lenovo laptop with a handbag case, a 4 mobile phones, and two electrical wires.
Dongon family's terror links
An exclusive report by Rappler's Maria Ressa back in April revealed that the Dongon family is no stranger to controversial terror-linked marriages.
Zainab Dongon, another Dongon daughter, was the wife of Zulkifli Bin Hir, alias Marwan. Zainab had also married the brother of Abu Sayyaf founder Abdujarak Janjalani, Khadaffy Janjalani, who was killed by government forces.
Another sister, Aminah, married Jainal Antel Sali, also known as Abu Solaiman. A 41-year-old civil engineer, he was Khadaffy Janjalani's deputy.
Romeo Dongon's wife, Judith Dongon, was arrested with Renierlo and Nobleza in the April 2017 incident in Clarin, Bohol.
Norein herself is apparently the wife of Ahmad Santos, the founder and leader of the Rajah Solaiman Movement until his arrest in 2005.
They have been put under the custody of the CIDG, which handles high-level suspects and criminals.
|2018-02-22 Southeast Asia|
|[ARABNEWS] There are no direct links between Indonesian and the leadership of in Syria, an Indonesian terrorism expert said on Tuesday.|
Taufik Andrie, executive director of the Institute for International Peace Building in Jakarta, was speaking during a meeting about changes in the global terrorism network and the impact those changes have had on extremism in Indonesia.
He said that attacks by self-proclaimed -affiliated in Indonesia "were not always related to , or even to Bahrun Naim or Aman Abdurrahman," referencing an Indonesian believed to be fighting for in Syria and a convicted radical who led a -affiliated network from his prison cell.
"There has never been a direct link between in Syria with those who claimed to be affiliated with the group here," Andrie said. "Most of those so-called acknowledgements were self-proclaimed.
"If we follow the money trail, there has been little financial support coming in from Syria to Indonesia for terrorism activities," he told Arab News.
Andrie said that remnants of the Southeast Asian network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) ‐ outlawed in Indonesia since 2008 ‐ still remain, with a clear organizational structure and key figures implementing their strategies.
Nasir Abbas, a former who is now known as a de-radicalization activist, said the group now operates anonymously, but still works toward the same goals using a mixture of preaching and violence.
"They are still on the move, but they don’t put a name on their organization. They use a strategy, unlike other who think that they are waging war by being lone wolves," said Abbas, adding that other groups were now emulating JI by putting a solid structure in place.
"They would try to settle in a small region and strengthen their base, preaching to the locals about their intention to establish a caliphate and making the locals believe in their propaganda," he explained.
Abbas said the conflict-torn southern Philippines remains the go-to destination for Southeast Asian returning to the region after joining in the Middle East. He claimed they pass through the porous sea and land borders from Indonesia’s North Kalimantan province to Malaysia’s Sabah state before entering the Philippines in "It’s the preferred trail because there is a chain of small islands in the Sulu Sea and there are a lot of separatist groups there, which means there is an abundant supply of guns and ammunition," he said.
Nava Nuraniyah, an analyst at the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) in Jakarta, said there has been little change in the role of women in groups, particularly in Indonesian and Filipino organizations.
"Very few of them have become combatants. When they do, the reason is usually self-empowerment," she told Arab News. "But most of them play the role of financier, treasurer and recruiter. They manage the money because they are housewives who are also entrepreneurs," she explained.
|2018-02-06 Southeast Asia|
|[RAPPLER] As military troops sustain their offensives and pressure in the BaSulTa ( -Sulu-Tawi-Tawi) area, two more members laid down their arms in Basilan on Sunday, February 4.|
Hasib Sarikin Mion and Hamdi Nor Bareo surrendered to members of the 74th Infantry Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Jonas Templo in Barangay Macalang, Albarka, Basilan at 2:00 pm on February 4.
"Mion is an Abu Sayyaf member under Furuji Indama and Bareo is listed under the AFP’s list as a member of the group of Nurhassan Jamiri," said Brigadier General Juvymax Uy, the commander of the Joint Task Force Basilan.
Mion and Bareo yielded their two US M1 Garand rifles to the troops.
|2018-02-05 Southeast Asia|
|[SUNSTAR.PH] THREE notorious members of the |
Group (ASG) have surrendered to the military authorities in the province of , officials announced on Sunday, February 4. Brigadier General Juvymax Uy, Army’s 104th Infantry Brigade commander, identified them as Garama Sulayman, 21; Omar Jaljalis, 18; and, Marhaban Pael, 34. Uy said they surrendered around 7 p.m., Saturday, February 3, and turned over two M-16 "Baby Armalite" rifles and a Carbine rifle with ammunition.
Uy said Mayor Gulam Hataman of Sumisip municipality has facilitated the surrender of the three . They were taken to the headquarters of the 104th Infantry Brigade for custodial debriefing, medical checkup, and proper disposition. Uy said the surrenderees informed them they decided to surrender due to difficulties in life and maltreatment from their leaders.
"We gladly welcome our surrenderees and those other members who wish to lay down their arms and end the armed conflicts in BASULTA (Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi) areas. There can be no better solution but to work in harmony to end terrorism," Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez Jr., Western Mindanao Command chief, said.
The surrender of the three have brought to 170 the total number of Abu Sayyaf who surrendered to the government authorities since last year.
|2018-02-04 Southeast Asia|
|[SUNSTAR.PH] GUNMEN believed to be have killed two people in an ambush in the province of Sulu, a top military official said on Thursday, February 1. |
Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the ambush occurred around 7:40 a.m., Thursday, in the village of Latih, Patikul municipality. Sobejana identified the victims as Muksin Kaidin and his brother, Mukim. He said the victims were aboard a private-owned jeep when a group of Abu Sayyaf ambushed killing them instantly.
He said the , one of them was identified as Sony Sajerin, boarded on a Sports Utility Vehicle and sped towards the hinterlands. He said troops have been deployed to track down the Abu Sayyaf .
|2017-10-14 Southeast Asia|
|[AnNahar] Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines will begin coordinated air patrols off the strife-torn southern Philippines next month to combat the growing threat posed by Islamists, an official said Friday.|
The neighbors had already launched joint sea patrols four months ago in the same area, the Sulu Sea.
Fears have been growing that the (IS) group is trying to establish a Southeast Asian outpost in the southern Philippines after waving the jihadists' black flag occupied the city of Marawi in May.
They have fought off a U.S.-backed military assault for almost five months and the conflict has left hundreds dead.
There have also been a spate of kidnappings in the Sulu Sea by the , a Philippine Islamist group.
A ceremony to announce the patrols was held Thursday at Subang air force base outside Kuala Lumpur and was attended by defense ministers from the three countries.
A Malaysian defense ministry spokeswoman said the patrols were aimed at combating the threat from " (IS), piracy and sea robberies."
The countries will take turns to lead the patrols, with Malaysia starting in November, followed by the Philippines in December and Indonesia in January.
In a speech at the ceremony, Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that some $40 billion in trade passed through the Sulu Sea every year and no single country could police the waters alone.
|2017-10-13 Southeast Asia|
|[NEWSINFO.INQUIRER.NET] Government security forces recovered 24 remains suspected to belong to pro- following aerial bombings and ground assaults that lasted until late Tuesday.|
The recovery of the bodies, including one that appeared to be a foreigner, from two locations inside the main battle area brought to 64 the number of bodies and skeletal remains recovered this week alone.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, commander of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said the 24 bodies were found in two buildings that from the Maute group and their allies occupied.
But in a in Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said 22 cadavers were recovered, some of whom were suspected to be remains of leaders of the Maute group.
"We are also interested to find out if there are prominent people ... killed. This is the reason why we are asking the PNP (Philippine National Police) to conduct the DNA testing faster to identify [them], because one or two of them might be the leaders of this group," Padilla said.
AFP chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Año had announced in September that the Maute brothers‐Abdullah, Madi and Otto‐had been killed in the fighting.
another brother, Omar, and leader Isnilon Hapilon were believed to still be alive, Año had said.
Galvez said firearms were found near the bodies retrieved recently.
"They are all confirmed members of Maute and Abu Sayyaf [groups]. There were no indications they were civilians or hostages," Galvez told s.
He said they were expecting to find more bodies inside the main battle area as soldiers continued to move toward areas occupied by spread out in about 4 hectares in Marawi.
About 800 Maute fighters have been killed since the fighting started here on May 23, military officials said.
At least 159 soldiers and 47 as the government engaged who laid siege to Marawi.
|2017-10-10 Southeast Asia|
|[PHILSTAR] The Department of Justice has started processing a request from its US counterpart for the extradition of a physician in connection with a jihadist plot to attack several targets in New York. Russell Salic, according to the US Justice Department, described the Philippines as "a breeding ground for terrorists."|
The statement is not entirely an empty boast. Foreign governments have raised concern about the growth of Islamist extremism in the Philippines and its Southeast Asian neighbors particularly Indonesia and Malaysia. The man convicted of organizing the first attack on the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan, in which a truck bomb was set off beneath the North Tower in February 1993, plotted the attack partly in Manila. Al Qaeda chieftain ’s brother-in-law was suspected of using an in Mindanao for terrorist financing.
Today the military is battling Maute linked to the in Marawi. With ISIS on the run from its former strongholds in Iraq and Syria, there are concerns that the group may try to relocate to Southeast Asia, where the Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah operates together with the and the The Philippine government must reassure the world that this will not happen. Salic, according to the US Justice Department, had reportedly said terror laws in the Philippines are "not strict" compared to countries such as Australia and the UK.
"Terrorists from all over the world usually come here as a breeding ground for ... hahahaha... But no worry here in Philippines. They dont care bout IS ... Only in west," Salic was quoted as saying.
Salic is not entirely off the mark; JI bomb makers have conducted training in Mindanao, and several foreign jihadis have been killed in the fighting in Marawi. The Philippines has a law against terrorism, but it includes safeguards against violations so stringent that law enforcers can go to prison for many years even for honest mistakes.
Not surprisingly, the Human Security Act has remained largely unenforced. It needs a review by Congress if the terrorist threat is to be contained. All countries face the threat of terrorism these days. What sets countries apart ‐ and reassures citizens, foreign travelers and investors ‐ is the state’s capability to deal with the threat. The Philippines cannot afford to be found wanting.
|2017-08-26 Southeast Asia|
|[NEWSINFO.INQUIRER.NET] The Regional Trial Court (RTC) here has reset the arraignment of a police officer who had links with the bandit group.|
Judge Jorge Cabalit, of RTC Branch 48 in Tagbilaran City, rescheduled the arraignment of Supt. Maria Cristina Nobleza for the illegal possession of firearms and explosives charges.
No date had yet been set for Nobleza’s schedule on when she would enter her plea before the court.
Sarah Soriano-Hermida, one of Nobleza’s lawyers, said the arraignment was postponed since the court had yet to resolve their motion that sought to dismiss the charges against the police officer.
"Our ground is--the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over the accused Nobleza because the arrest was made illegally," said Hermida.
The judge gave the prosecution 10 days to comment on the motion while the defense would be given another 10 days to answer.
Nobleza, who was wearing a hijab, a veil traditionally worn by women, arrived the sala of Judge Cabalit around 9 a.m.
Considered a "high risk" detainee, she was heavily escorted by that caused a traffic jam along the city’s B. Inting Street.
|2017-08-22 Southeast Asia|
|[AnNahar] Islamist killed nine people and injured ten others as they attacked a town in the Philippines at dawn Monday, burning houses in which were sleeping, police said.|
About 60 members of the notorious kidnap-for-ransom group entered a town in their stronghold on island in the southern Mindanao region and began shooting, local police chief John Cundo told AFP.
"This is an act of terrorism and cowardice. When our forces engaged them in a 45-minute firefight and they felt our numbers and volume of fire they backed away and fled," Cundo said.
"What is unfortunate is that were affected as they were still sleeping when this happened."
The burned four houses and a day care centre in the town of Maluso, Cundo said, adding police and the military were conducting "hot pursuit" operations against the .
The Abu Sayyaf is a loose network of formed in the 1990s with seed money from 's al-Qaeda network.
Its members have engaged in banditry and kidnapping, targeting foreigners in exchange for millions of dollars in ransom.
One faction based on Basilan has pledged allegiance to the group.
It is not clear whether that faction was involved in Monday's attack on Maluso, although its members are among who have been occupying since May parts of Marawi, the largely Catholic nation's most important Islamic city.
The have withstood a US-backed military offensive in Marawi that has claimed more than 700 lives and displaced nearly 400,000 people.
President Rodrigo Duterte has imposed martial law across the southern third of the Philippines, including Basilan, to quell the threat.
Following Monday's attack, residents evacuated their homes in fear and authorities sent more troops to secure the area, according to Cundo.
The Abu Sayyaf had launched similar attacks on the town in previous years, Cundo added.
The incident came a day after the military rescued a Vietnamese hostage of the Abu Sayyaf also on Basilan island after nine months in captivity.
Military commander Col. Juvymax Uy said the may have staged the attack to retaliate against communities they think were not supportive of them following a series of battle setbacks.
|2017-08-20 Southeast Asia|
|[Dhaka Tribune] The Philippines’ largest group has launched a deadly offensive against a splinter faction that has pledged allegiance to the group, police said Saturday.|
The fighting between the two groups began about two weeks ago in the marshy farmlands around the southern town of Datu Salibo on Mindanao island, regional police spokeswoman Tara Leah Cuyco said.
Clashes between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and its offshoot, the (BIFF), took place on Friday and Saturday, with six fighters from the original group killed.
"The MILF is trying to force the BIFF out of the area. They do not want any trouble," Chief Inspector Cuyco told AFP.
A MILF guerrilla leader told a video journalist working for AFP on Saturday: "We do not want them here. It’s an order from the higher-ups."
The MILF, which has more than 10,000 fighters, has waged a decades-long guerrilla war, first for independence and later autonomy for the large Islamic minority in the south of the largely Catholic Asian nation.
It signed a peace treaty with the Philippine government in 2014 and is observing a ceasefire with the Philippine government while waiting for the passage of a proposed law that would grant self-rule to the areas of the Mindanao region.
Senior MILF leaders have warned President Rodrigo Duterte to deliver on government commitments under the peace accord, chiefly the autonomy law, or risk frustrating MILF members and causing them to defect to the BIFF and other pro-IS groups.
The BIFF, said by the military to have a few hundred armed fighters, has been among several small s in Mindanao that have pledged alliance to the IS.
The fighting comes as the military fought a near three-month battle in Marawi, a city 100 kilometres (62 miles) to the north.
The fighting in Marawi is being led by two other rebel factions, the Maute group and the The Marawi battle has left 573 and 128 soldiers and police dead, along with at least 45 civilians, according to an official tally.
|2017-08-02 Southeast Asia|
|[ALMASDARNEWS] Despite being outnumbered at least 100-to-1, a small garrison of are putting up determined resistance against the Philippine Army in the embattled city of Marawi.|
On Wednesday, Amaq Agency released its fifth ever video covering events in Marawi, showing plenty of army corpses along with weapons recently seized by and Maute, two jihadist groups that have sworn allegiance to Islamic State leader official sources in the Philippine Army claim the total ISIS has surpassed 500, backing up earlier claims by al-Masdar News which were heavily disputed when the crisis began over two months ago.
Between 120 and 60 ISIS still remain bogged down around four neighborhoods in the city centre where the hardline jihadists have established entrenched positions and sniper nests after booby-trapping most of the frontline.
|2017-07-27 Southeast Asia|
|[AA.TR] A leading figure has been appointed to head the police in Marawi City, where pro- have been fighting for two months.|
Ebra Moxsir al-Haj, president of the Imam Council of the Philippines, assumed his role on Monday, Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, the police chief for the Autonomous Region in Mindanao, said in a statement.
Moxsir, a native of the city, has been a member of the Philippine National Police Chaplain Service for 22 years, GMA News reported.
The new police chief would be key to bringing peace to the city, the statement added.
Fighters from the Maute group and attacked Marawi City on May 23, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to impose martial law across the southern island of Mindanao.
Pockets of are still holding out in a battle that has seen 453 s, 109 government troops and 45 civilians killed.
|2017-07-21 Southeast Asia|
|[SUNSTAR.PH] GOVERNMENT security forces havethe henchman of top leader of the Group (ASG) in an east coast village of Zamboanga City, the police reported on Wednesday, July 19. Chief Inspector Elmer Solon, Police Station 4 chief, identified the arrested ASG henchman as Albarin Arabin, whose real identity is Ustadz Namir alias Abu Amama. Solon said that Arabin is a sub-leader of top ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon, who has pledged allegiance to the for Iraq and Syria (Isis). Solon said Arabin was arrested on Monday, July 17, in the village of Taluksangay, 19 kilometers east of the city. He said Arabin has standing warrant of arrest for six counts of kidnapping with serious illegal detention for his involvement in the kidnapping of workers in 2001 at Golden Harvest Plantation in the village of Tairan, Lantawan, . He said the arrest of Arabin came after they received report about the presence of two unidentified persons in Taluksangay claiming to be Malaysian preachers. He said Arabin and , Abdulwajid Ibno, turned out to be Filipinos who have worked for several years in Malaysia. Ibno was placed under investigation to ascertain whether he is also a member of the ASG, according to Solon.|
|2017-07-21 Southeast Asia|
|[ALMASDARNEWS] Amaq Agency published its fourth video from Marawi on Thursday, exactly two months after the ISIS-linked Maute and groups launched a large-scale insurgency to the surprise of many analysts. This battle represent the first attempt at a land-grab by the in Southeast Asia and has consequently been heavily contested by the Philippine Army which enjoys the backing of both the US and Russia.|
The footage showed armed jihadist ‐ many of whom originate from neighboring countries ‐ opening fire on positions held by the Philippine Army in downtown Marawi:
Although the footage hints to the contrary, Lieutenant General Jo-Ar Herrera insists ISIS’ fighting force in the city has dwindled to just 80 s, most of whom have established last-ditch sniper nests. The remaining are bogged down in some 500 buildings stretching across four neighborhoods of central Marawi, the military source added.
An estimated 420 have been killed or captured over the past 60 days including many influential members of the Maute family’s inner circle. If this official estimation is accurate, the Philippine Army outnumbers the Islamic State at least 50-to-1.
Since day one of the battle for Lanao’s predominately , high-ranking Philippine commanders have notably downplayed the situation as a minor conflict, establishing several deadlines for the city’s full liberation which have since long passed.
|2017-07-20 Southeast Asia|
|[ALMASDARNEWS] Besieged ISIS are putting up a determined fight for Marawi, the of Lanao Island in the southern Philipines, although jihadist belligerents have been contained in a downtown pocket of some 500 buildings stretching across four districts.|
According to Lieutenant General Jo-Ar Herrera, six of the ISIS-linked Maute and groups were killed during counter-insurgency efforts on Sunday alone. He added that an estimated 60 fighters were still fighting, down from 500 when the battle initially began two months ago.
"We are gaining more ground. The rebel-held area is getting smaller. We are committed and focused to finish the job as soon as possible," Herrera said.
On the other hand, Amaq Agency claimed 10 Philippine troops were killed on Tuesday alone, thus signifying the remaining jihadist rebels to be ready to fight to the last man.
With the battle soon entering its third month, some 511 firearms have been seized by government troops since the battle began while 1,723 residents have been rescued from ISIS-held residential areas according to a military source.
|2017-06-11 Southeast Asia|
|[DAWN] Thirteen Philippine marines were killed in fierce fighting with who have laid siege to a southern city for nearly a month in the biggest single-day loss for government forces, the military said Saturday.|
A US Navy aircraft provided surveillance for the local troops as the battle raged in Marawi on Friday, confirming the involvement of the US military in helping quell the urban insurrection at the request of the Philippine government, Philippine military officials said.
An journalist and photographer saw a US Navy P3 Orion plane hovering in cloudy skies above Marawi on Friday. The aircraft flew above rocket-firing Philippine helicopters that struck positions, causing plumes of smoke to billow skyward.
"We don't have adequate surveillance equipment, so we asked the US military for assistance. It's noncombat assistance," military Brig Gen Restituto Padilla said by phone, citing a Philippine government policy that bars foreign troops from local combat.
The US Embassy in Manila said without elaborating that US special operations forces were providing help to Filipino troops battling the Maute and in Marawi.
|2017-06-10 Southeast Asia|
As background, the Maute group, also known as the IS-Ranao, which figured prominently in the Marawi siege, is a radical Islamist group composed of former guerrillas of the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guand some . The group is led by Abdullah Maute, the alleged founder of a Dawlah Islamiya, or based in Lanao del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines. The group already figured in a clash with Army troops in February 2016 that ended with the capture of their headquarters in Butig, Lanao del Sur. The group is thought to have over 100 members and was supplied with equipment by a foreign terrorist. They are said to be affiliated with Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian Islamist terror group.
|2017-06-02 Southeast Asia|
|[ALMASDARNEWS] al-Masdar News has obtained the first official video from Marawi, an embattled city in the southern Philippines which witnessed a large-scale ISIS uprising last week, prompting Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte to initiate a 60-day state of emergency in the province of Lanao.|
Amaq Agency released footage showing from Maute and , two jihadist groups which have pledged allegiance to Islamic State leader , in action against the Philippine Army across the predominately Sunni city.
Two consecutive ambushes have been conducted on armored vehicles since ISIS launched its insurgency, one of which was shown in the video. Dead government troops were still lying inside the vehicle.
At least 89 ISIS members have been killed since the battle began on May 22, wiping out roughly 20% of its fighting force. the Philippine Army has sustained well above 100 casualties during its bid to retake the largely city.
For instance, a Philippine bomber plane accidentally killed 11 government soldiers and injured seven others, security officials said Thursday.
Concerning images have also emerged showing forced conversation of the city’s Christian population. Around 200,000 people lived in Marawi before began. over 90% have fled due to the fighting already.
|2017-05-26 Southeast Asia|
|[ALMASDARNEWS] New details have emerged regarding the ongoing battle for Marawi, a predominately Sunni city in the southern Philippines which is home to over 200,000 residents and witnessed a large-scale ISIS insurgency on Thursday.|
According to Amaq Agency, some 70 soldiers of the Philippine Armed Forces have been killed in the battle for Marawi since Tuesday while an additional 10 were killed in an ambush on two armored vehicles patrolling the Jolo municipality on the island of Jolo.
In contrast, the Philippine Army said they had only sustained 8 deaths and 31 injuries to their forces while 13 ISIS had been killed. the Phillipine Air Force conducted dozens of pinpoints s over the city on Thursday.
forces in the Philippines are composed of the two franchise groups, known as Maute and , both of whom have sworn alliegence to ISIS leader .
|2017-05-26 Southeast Asia|
|[PHILSTAR] The -inspired Maute have been isolated into pockets as government forces took control of a majority of areas previously occupied by the in Marawi City.|
Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay said ground forces have determined the number of the Maute and their locations.
Petinglay said that, according to ground assessment, fewer than 50 Maute infiltrated Marawi but managed to project strength through social media.
"This time, we have clearer picture of what happened compared to the first day [na] hindi natin totally grasp or plot the locations of the other s... Where they did atrocities in a group of three or five and you thought they are too many. They burned and hid and fired and hid," Petinglay said.
"They tried to paint the scenario that they have seized major areas in Marawi utilizing videos and photos spread on the social media," she added.
Many of the initial reports from Marawi City on Tuesday were from residents posting photos and videos on social media. by Tuesday night, media was able to reach Mayor Majul Gadamra as well as provincial and Autonomous Region in Mindanao officials for updates.
Petinglay claimed the Maute group initially succeeded in its propaganda propaganda campaign, with many social media users unwittingly reposted the visual materials showing the on the streets brandishing their guns and black flags.
"Because of that those who repost the unverified source of videos and photos unknowingly helped fan out the propaganda of the Maute terrorists," Petinglay said.
But the military said they now have a clearer picture what is happening and where on the third day of operations.
Petinglay said troops are now concentrating on particular areas where the are holed up. She said residents who decided to stay behind have been reporting on the positions of the terrorists.
Aside from regular troops, elite operators from the Special Operations Command have been deployed to deal with the Maute in close-quarter combat.
She added operations are now easier since residents have evacuated areas where the are.
"During the first day, one of the challenges to us was the troops could not just penetrate the place where you believe they are there because there were civilians and the possible collateral damage," Petinglay said.
The military also assured the public that the Maute are isolated and will not be able to slip out with residents who have been streaming out of the city.
She said all routes going out from Marawi have been secured and evacuees are being carefully checked for pretending to be civilians.
Casualties on the government side are five soldiers killed and 32 others . Security forces have said they have killed 13 Maute and an undetermined number of .
Petinglay said ground forces believe the Maute group has not managed to smuggle leader Isnilon Hapilon out of the city.
Hapilon, said to be the recognized Islamic State of Iraq and Syria's leader in Philippines, was the main target of police and military operations on Tuesday that has triggered the fighting in the capital of Lanao del Sur.
President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in Mindanao in response to the .
|2017-05-09 Southeast Asia|
|[NEWSINFO.INQUIRER.NET] Senior Supt. Felipe Natividad, the Bohol police director, welcomed the investigation of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on the escape and subsequent death of an alleged member less than 24 hours after he was "That’s ok. We are open to (an) investigation. It is better in order to clear everything," said Natividad on Monday.|
Natividad said that the Philippine National Police has started a separate investigation on the death of Saad Samad Kiram alias Abu Saad.
"There is an internal investigation together with CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group), ongoing yan," he said.
Alfonso Bayocot Jr., head of the CHR-Bohol, went to the Bohol Provincial Police Office on Monday morning to secure a copy of the official police report on death of Abu Saad as part of an in-depth investigation.
"We want to be enlightened on what really happened. He might be a terrorist but our office has a mandate to investigate cases of violations," he added.
Police arrested Kiram in the morning of May 4 after he went out of hiding to ask for food. Although he was fed by a resident, the police were tipped off of his presence that led to his arrest.
He was brought to the Bohol Provincial Police Office in Tagbilaran where he was interrogated. By early morning of May 5, he was transported to the Bohol District Jail, also in Tagbilaran, where he was supposed to be detained.
But Kiram allegedly escaped about 2 p.m. and was cornered more than two hours later when he was shot thrice while grappling for a gun from a policeman.
He suffered gunshot wounds in the thigh, chest and forehead.
|2017-04-26 Southeast Asia|
Military chief of staff Eduardo Año said three Indonesians and a Malaysian, believed to be members of the Jemaah Islamiyah terror group, were among 37 militants who were killed in the assault. He said 14 of the dead had been identified, but did not name any of the slain foreigners or armed men.
Rolando Joselito Bautista said among those killed was Abu Imam Bantayaw, an Abu Sayyaf leader based in this town; and a subcommander identified only as Mael, who was killed and buried here on Sunday night. Bautista said one of those slain, believed to be a foreigner, was buried in a bomb crater.
Troops have also recovered the passport of an Indonesian national from the clash site in Barangay Gacap, he said.
Military spokesman Nixon Fortes said there would be no letup in operations against the Maute group, which had established a new camp in Piagapo. The area is just five kilometers from Camp Pukta of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front faction led by Abdullah Macapaar, alias Kumander Bravo, according to Fortes.
Año, in an interview on Tuesday, said the four were among the 130 foreigners living in Mindanao who are thought to be supporting local Abu Sayyaf militants. He said mopping-up operations were ongoing as soldiers tried to locate Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.
|2017-04-26 Southeast Asia|
Ground and air strikes against the terror group began early morning on April 22 in Barangay Gacap, in the town of Piagapo in Lanao del Sur, said Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief General Eduardo Año, in a chance interview with s.
Among those killed were members of the local Maute group, and three Indonesians and one Malaysian who were members of Jemaah Islamiyah, an Indonesia-based terror group with links to Al Qaeda, Año said.
The military believes Maute members obtained their long firearms from an Indonesian terrorist affiliated with Jemaah Islamiyah.
After nearly three days of fighting, government troops seized the Maute group's "main camp" in Piagapo on Monday, the military added.
Authorities recovered a flag with ISIS insignia, rifle and fragmentation grenades, other items used for making explosives, cellphones, and camouflage uniforms, said Lt. Gen Carlito Galvez, chief of the military's Western Mindanao Command, in a press briefing on Monday.
A passport belonging to an Indonesian national was also recovered, he said.
|2017-04-15 Southeast Asia|
|[PNA] A senior Philippine military official disclosed that Abu Sayyaf one-armed and top leader Radullan Sahiron plans to surrender to the government. Westmincom spokesman Carlito Galvez said, "Radullan Sahiron is contemplating to surrender because he is old."|
Galvez said that one of the conditions of Sahiron is for the government "not to turn him over to the U.S. government" when he turns himself in. The FBI has set a million reward for the capture of Sahiron.
Sahiron is the leading figure in the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu province after most of the founding Abu Sayyaf leaders were killed.
Galvez said, "We see that not only those in the lower ranks of the ASG are expressing their desire to surrender because they’realready feeling the heat of the military operation. And they also feel the sincerity of the President to accept people who wanted to surrender."
Galvez said they were employing non-lethal approaches in dealing with the Abu Sayyaf, including a rehabilitation program. He said they are replicating this approach from their military counterparts in Indonesia and Malaysia. Galvez said the same tactic was used in "decimating" the networks of the Jemaah Islamiyah.
On Thursday, Galvez presented to the local media the 11 Abu Sayyaf rebels, including two sub-leaders, who surrendered to the government in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. Ben Saudi Sariol, one of the 11 surrenderers, said they decided to turn themselves in to the military as the offensive against the Abu Sayyaf have intensified in recent months.
"We just want a peaceful life. We want our children to go to school, and earn a decent living. We feel much safer now," Sariol said in Tausug dialect. Ben, along with his father Berong Sariol and nine other relatives, surrendered to the troops on Tuesday night. They also surrendered their firearms to the military.
|2017-04-12 Southeast Asia|
|[RAPPLER] MANILA, Philippines ‐ The Court of Appeals (CA) upheld the murder conviction of two Indonesian involved in the bombing of the Awang Airport in Manguindanao in 2003.|
In a March 30 ruling, the CA’s Former Special Sixteenth Division affirmed the decision issued by the Pasig City Regional Trial Court, which sentenced Zulkifli Julkifli alias Ahmad Faisal and Taufiq Rifqi, to reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years of imprisonment.
The two, members of the notorious Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM), were found guilty of murder with double attempted murder for the bombing of the airport located in Barangay Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao. The February 2003 incident killed Sgt. Nelson Corpuz and injured several others.
The RSM also worked with Jemaah Islamiyah and the on the Superferry bombing in 2004 and the Valentine’s Day bombings in 2005. (READ: 9/11 and the Black Flag movement)
"The Court finds no compelling ground to disturb the factual findings of the RTC. As herein before pronounced, the rule is well-settled that factual findings of the trial court regarding the credibility of witnesses are accorded great weight and utmost respect given that trial courts have first hand observation of the witnesses’ demeanor while testifying in court," the CA said in a 23-page decision penned by Associate Justice Marie Christine Azcarraga-Jacob.
The appellate court also increase the moral damages due to the heirs of Corpuz from P50,000 to P75,000.
|2017-04-12 Southeast Asia|
|[THESTAR.MY] KUALA LUMPUR: The hunt for notorious (IS) Mohamad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi will be further intensified following his inclusion in the global terror watch list, says Comm Datuk Seri Mohamad Fuzi Harun.|
The Bukit Aman Special Branch department director said the Royal Malaysia Police, especially the Counter Terrorism Division will work closely with their American counterparts in hunting Mohamad Wanndy.
"He (Mohamad Wanndy) has been the behind several terror plots in Malaysia, including the bombing at the Movida nightclub.
"He has also been actively recruiting more Malaysian for IS. This inclusion in the global watch list will definitely boost efforts to hunt him down," he said yesterday.
While Mohamad Wanndy’s inclusion in the watch list by US authorities was welcomed, Comm Mohamad Fuzi said Bukit Aman had already placed him in its own wanted list for the past two years.
"We are aware of the crucial role Mohamad Wanndy has played in attempting to launch attacks on home soil despite being in Syria," he said.
"Currently, he is one of the most influential Malaysian in IS."
The Star reported last year that Mohamad Wanndy was high on Bukit Aman’s wanted list, having spearheaded more than three terror plots in Malaysia.
the Counter Terrorism Division has been vigilant and alert in quelling his plans for terror attacks in the country.
Sources said that while Mohamad Wanndy was the "puppet master" behind terror activities in Malaysia, he had amassed at least RM100,000 within a short time to settle personal debts and cover his expenses in Syria.
"The from Durian Tunggal is content with issuing orders for followers to execute attacks, including suicide s, without getting his own hands dirty," a source said.
On a separate matter, Comm Mohamad Fuzi said actions taken against Siti Noor Aishah Atam, 30, was justified. She is in Kajang Prison after the Court of Appeal reversed her acquittal over charges of having 12 publications relating to terrorism.
She was a Kolej Universiti Insaniah (Kedah) graduate who was continuing her Masters in Islamic Studies at Universiti Malaya when she was in March last year under Sosma for having books on Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda.
On Sept 29 last year, she was acquitted by the Kuala Lumpur High Court but was re-arrested under the Prevention of Crime Act for allegedly importing IS flags into the country.
"We will not compromise against IS as well as sympathisers and supporters. We have enough credible evidence," Comm Mohamad Fuzi said.
"Safety and security is our priority," he said, in dismissing allegations by the Terengganu native’s family over miscarriage of justice in Siti Noor Aishah’s case.
"We also discovered that she was a student of wanted Dr Mahmud Ahmad, who has fled to southern Philippines.
"We won’t take such drastic action if the evidence is not sufficient," he said.
|2017-04-12 Southeast Asia|
|[SUNSTAR.PH] A SUSPECTED member of the Group (ASG) and listed as number three in the drugs watchlist was killed while a policeman was in a shootout in an east coast village of Zamboanga City. Eight people, who were caught having pot session, were Chief Inspector Elmer Solon, Police Station 4 chief, said the shootout occurred around 5 p. m. Monday, April 10, in Bilang-Bilang Island in the village of Mercedes, east of the city.|
Solon identified the slain suspect as Matiling Addusi, who has a standing warrant of arrest for murder. The police chief said that Addusi is a follower of Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Alhabsy Misaya and listed as the number three high value target drug personality in the city.
The policeman was identified as Police Officer 3 Zaide Tutuan, who is assigned with the Police Station 4.
Solon said they were conducting security patrol along the shore of Bilang-Bilang Island when they chanced upon a group of people having a pot session in one of the houses. He said the suspects scampered to different directions but eight of them were arrested.
Arrested were the following: Sabirula Basarahi, 40; Marham Bumpasan, 19; Mohammad Tating, 40; Adzron Madda, 37; Hamja Salim, 28; Wadud Madda, 17; Abubakar Halis, 31; and, Madi Asmarin, 20.
Solon said a shootout ensued when Addusi, who run towards one of the houses, shot Tutuan while in pursuit of the suspected Abu Sayyaf member. He said Addusi was killed in the shootout.
|2017-04-10 Southeast Asia|
The six refused appeals to surrender during a standoff that lasted several hours and were slain by police, said Rikwanto.
On Friday, counterterrorism police arrested three militants who were allegedly plotting to attack a police station in East Java. Among those arrested was Zainal Anshori, a top figure of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, an umbrella group of Indonesian extremists that claims allegiance to ISIS.
Rikwanto said that Anshori had orchestrated Saturday's planned attack. He said, "They had acted on Anshori's order as a revenge of his arrest," citing police interrogation of other arrested militants.
|2017-04-09 Southeast Asia|
|[EXPRESS.CO.UK] SIX suspected jihadis have been by police in Indonesia. The group were killed after a failed drive-by targeting . The incident took place at around 5pm local time (11am GMT) in East Java.|
Police Frans Barung Mangera said officers had been monitoring a vehicle which had links to in the area.
He said: "We tried to stop that vehicle, but the vehicle did not stop." Mr Mangera said those in the vehicle then "took out weapons and shot at officers".
The men then fled into a plantation before a shoot-out ensued. The said: "By around 5pm we had immobilised all of them."
Police had been monitoring the vehicle in connection after three suspected members of Islamic group Jemaah Anshorut Daulah were yesterday.
The incident took place in East Java, Indonesia this afternoon
Indonesia has been on high alert over a recent resurgence in radicalism inspired by the group .
|2017-03-22 Southeast Asia|
|[FREEMALAYSIATODAY] PETALING JAYA: Intelligence sources in the Philippines have revealed that many key leaders of terror group were killed in recent operations by the military, The Star reported.|
While no information has been given by the Philippines as to the identities of those who were killed, sources said that among the dead were known involved in the beheading of hostages.
Previously, the Philippine military had announced the death of Buchoy Hassan, also known as Black or Bocoi. The military said Bocoi was one of 30 Abu Sayyaf members killed in military operations against the believed to have beheaded kidnap victims.
Among their victims was Sarawakian Bernard Thien, the first Malaysian hostage to have been beheaded by the kidnap-for-ransom group.
Thien was killed on Jolo island on Nov 17, 2015.
sources believe other Abu Sayyaf leaders such as Idang Susukan and Majan Sahidjuan, also known as Apo Mike, were also killed, with many others on the run, according to The Star.
Apo Mike and Idang are among 23 Filipino nationals who were previously reported to be on the Eastern Sabah Security Command’s (Esscom) wanted list.
Those on the run include Alhabsi Misaya and Muamar Askali, or Abu Rami, the report said. Abu Rami is believe to be the group’s negotiator for the release of hostages.
Anti-kidnapping activist Professor Octavio Dinampo told the daily that Atai, an Abu Sayyaf sub-commander, had also been killed along with his wife and that of Idang.
"It is becoming more difficult for the . There has been no let up in the offensive and they have to be on the move constantly," he told The Star in a telephone interview.
|2017-03-19 Southeast Asia|
|[GMA News] The Philippine miliatary on Saturday said it is verifying reports that a suspected foreign terrorist was killed in a series of assaults against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters early this week in Maguindanao.|
Westmincom spokesperson Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay said in a statement that there are persistent reports that Indian-Singaporean terrorist Mohammad Ali bin Abdulrahman, alias Muawiyah, were among 21 terrorists slain in air and ground assaults launched against targets in Barangay Tee in Datu Salibo town from March 13 to 16.
Abdulrahman had reportedly acted as a negotiator for the Abu Sayyaf and is known as a 'dangerous' Jemaah Islamiyah operative.
Petinglay said that also reported killed in the attacks were Salahuddin Hassan, a local terrorist and bomber trained by Abdulrahman and Esmael Abdulmalik, alias Abu Toraype, a brigade commander in the BIFF.
She said that Abdulrahman and the two local terrorists were associates of terror suspect Marwan, who had been confirmed killed by elite troopers in Mamasapano town on January 2016.
Recovered during the operations were bomb-making manuals, five improvised explosive devices and several IED components. Petinglay said, "The recovery from the area of manuals of IED-making indicates that the slain terrorists were giving instructions on how to assemble explosive devices and launch bombing attacks."
Petinglay said that Abulrahman's group had also provided training for new recruits, including members of local terror Maute group based in Lanao.
|2017-03-14 Southeast Asia|
|[GMANETWORK] At least 11 members of the (BIFF) have been killed in air strikes launched by the military at the bandit group's known lairs in two villages in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.|
Capt. Ervin Encinas, spokesperson of the Philippine Army's 6th Infantry Division, said the offensive's target was the group of a certain Kumander Bungos of the BIFF and three foreign terrorists.
Encinas said several other BIFF members were also injured in the air strikes, which started on Monday afternoon.
He said the group of Kumander Bungos has encampments in barangays Andavit and Tee.
Local officials said that at least 300 families have been forced to evacuate due to the military's offensive.
Col. Diosdado Carreon, commander of the 601st Infantry Brigade, said senior Jemaah Islamiyah member and known bomber Mohammad Ali alias Muawiyah is among the foreign included in Kumander Bungos' group.
It can be recalled that the military had claimed that Ali was killed in an assault in 2012, but later took back the announcement and said that the international terrorist was alive.
|2017-02-06 Southeast Asia|
|[TODAYONLINE] Increasing concern over foreign terrorist fighters returning to South-east Asia has prompted Indonesia to enhance immigration cooperation with Asean member countries.|
But regional cooperation must be preceded by significant internal improvement, particularly in regards to the integrity and capability of the country’s immigration apparatus.
Since coalition forces successfully pushed the so-called (IS) to and launched Operation Conquest, leaders from various countries have expressed their concern over the potential consequences of fleeing IS .
Indonesia -- a country where a small collection of IS fighters has its origins and where are often attracted to joining local resistances -- must keep an eye on its border security.
Indonesia already has experience in this issue, as its immigration and border security have been exploited in the past by Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) fighters wanting to enter or leave the country.
Indonesia’s problem with people movement seems to centre on a lack of integrity in the immigration apparatus, as well as the sheer scale of its borderlands.
|2017-01-27 Southeast Asia|
|[INTERAKSYON] Group (ASG) Isnilon Hapilon managed to escape from his enclave and moved to Central Mindanao at the behest of the terror group in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).|
The move is to test whether Central Mindanao is conducive to the establishment of a "wilayat" or an Islamic State, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday.
Hapilon's breakout, with a small group of loyal followers, took place middle of December, he added.
Lorenzana said Basilan and Jolo were too small and and they can be easily be trapped there, hence the ASG leader's decision to move out in Central Mindanao where he is now rallying Maute Group members to support ISIS.
As of this posting, Maute Group members are placed at around 100 armed fighters.
"We know he is there so we are conducting operations against them in Lanao Del Sur, near the Butig area, just beside Lake Lanao, we have been there before with the President sometime last November or December, so we continue to operate against the ASG," the DND chief added.
He said all of these information are from their intelligence sources.
As this developed, the Western Mindanao Command’s (WMC) 103rd Infantry Brigade under Col. Nixon Fortes scored another major breakthrough in its intensified campaign against the terror groups of ASG, Maute Group and foreign terror groups holed up in Butig, Lanao Del Sur.
"The terror groups are reported to have sustained a major casualty with a number of them dead or seriously after a midnight (between the 25th and 26th January 2017) surgical air strike and a well-directed and observed artillery rounds accurately landing in the identified locations of the terror groups," Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said.
As of this posting, ground troops have established foothold and begun their assault to the same objective of the preliminary attack midnight.
"They are now cautiously advancing to their designated objectives ‐ the location of ASG leader Isnilon Hamilon, his select group, and the Brothers Abdullah, Omar, and Otto Maute, and possibly other foreigners joining their notorious group," he added.
"We will await the validated details of the results of this operation as soon as we get confirmations from our troops now on the ground," Arevalo said.
|2017-01-13 Southeast Asia|
|[CHANNELNEWSASIA] Eight Indonesians held at Singapore's Woodlands Checkpoint said they were preachers from the Tabligh Jamaat Islamic group, a senior Malaysian counter-terrorism official told Channel NewsAsia on Thursday (Jan 12).|
"They claimed to be preachers from the movement, which is also sometimes known as Tabligh. They said they have been preaching in madrasahs (religious boarding schools) in Pattani, southern Thailand and then travelled down to Malaysia’s state of Perlis. They later came to Malacca to meet with a preacher there," said Ayub.
Tabligh Jamaat is a global Sunni missionary group.
"We will be investigating the madrasahs and the preacher whom they met with," Ayub added.
The men were in Malaysia from Jan 3 to 10 and claimed they were from Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia.
A senior Indonesian counter-terrorism official told Channel NewsAsia that "initial interrogation showed they were not IS members".
"They are just preachers. This is the result of our initial investigation," said the Indonesian official.
Ayub said the men tried to enter Singapore at 1.30am on Jan 10 and were detained by Singapore’s immigration authorities and deported to Malaysia. They were held by Malaysia’s Special Branch counter-terrorism officers at 2am.
They were deported to Indonesia’s island of Batam at 9am that same day and handed over to Indonesian police counter-terrorism taskforce Densus 88.
DEPORTEE HAD IMAGES OF SHOE BOMB, IS FIGHTERS
Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) confirmed on Thursday evening that the eight Indonesians - aged between 16 and 37 - were deported to Malaysia on Jan 10.
"One of them was found in possession of images of security concern, including that of a shoe-bomb as well as fighters from the terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria," MHA said.
"The Singapore authorities informed their Malaysian counterparts before the deportation," added a spokesperson for MHA.
According to Ayub, the Tabligh movement's teachings in Malaysia have been mostly peaceful and moderate.
"There have been only one or two cases at the most where its followers were found to be radical. They joined Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and the Malaysian Mujahidin Movement (KMM)," said Ayub.
JI is the regional terror group behind the devastating 2002 Bali bombings. KMM, which is also known as the Malaysian Militant Movement, is a group with links to JI, which believes in overthrowing the secular Malaysian government and replacing it with an Islamic state.
Tabligh has been described by scholars as apolitical and somewhat secretive. It was founded in 1927.
Its biggest annual event is a three-day prayer and fast held in Bangladesh that attracts millions and is believed to be one of the largest gatherings of s in the world after the Haj pilgrimage.
|2017-01-13 Southeast Asia|
|[TODAYONLINE] Women’s roles in terrorist networks in Indonesia have until now been dictated by their kinship ties through marriage, involving facilitating logistics and finance for terrorist acts. But there is a growing trend of women taking on combat roles.|
Detachment 88, Indonesia’s police counter-terrorism unit, recently three women who were allegedly involved in plotting to bomb the Indonesian State Palace. The women -- Dian Yulia Novi, Arida Putri Maharani and Tutin Sugiarti -- were a part of a Solo-based terrorist network under the coordination of Bahrun Naim, the man allegedly behind the 2016 Jakarta attacks.
A few days after their arrest, Detachment 88 also arrested Ika Puspitasari in a mosque near her home in Purworejo, Central Java.
Novi and Maharani are the wives of Muhammad Nur Solihin, who is believed to be the leader of the terror cell. Novi was responsible for preparing the planned at the Indonesian State Palace.
Maharani was aware of these preparations for the attack and had facilitated its funding. Sugiarti, interestingly, played a key role in radicalising Novi despite Novi being married to the group’s head. The last woman, Puspitasari, had prepared to conduct a in Bali on New Year’s Eve.
Within Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Indonesia’s most infamous terrorist group, women previously played only intermediary and childbearing roles, with the purpose of boosting ties and nurturing future jihadists in a bid to expand the group’s numbers. JI also relied on women to raise funds for violent jihad.
For example, Noralwizah Lee Binti Abdullah, a Sabah-Chinese woman who was the wife of JI’s former operational commander , was believed to be JI’s chief accountant.
Classical Islam does not favour women taking on combative roles. But, with the rise of the so-called (IS), the role of women in violent terrorist acts is evolving.
With the goal of establishing an Islamic state at all costs, IS has had to extend the kinds of roles available to women in their organization, involving them to a greater degree in armed combat and suicide missions. IS has established the al-Khansaa Brigade, a women-only unit that patrols around cities such as Raqqa and to enforce IS’ fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic values. Women also fought on the frontlines for IS in Libya.
Increased combat and planning roles for women in Indonesian terror cells reflects the influence and growing network of IS allies in South-east Asia. The East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) terror group, which pledges allegiance to IS, has conducted weapons training for its women including the wife of MIT’s commander. We should expect more women to be direct participants in terrorism in the future.
|2017-01-10 Southeast Asia|
|[NEWSINFO.INQUIRER.NET] The military will crush the and Maute terrorist groups in six months to one year to put an end to kidnappings and s in the South once and for all, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday.|
Lorenzana said the timetable set by the military was just right and that Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año was convinced the military could contain the two terrorist groups during that period, although an additional six months would be a big help.
For a start, he said, there will be big organizational changes at the Western Mindanao Command, which has jurisdiction over areas where the Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups operate.
"We are going to do something new or innovative to finish this problem once and for all," Lorenzana said, but declined to divulge details of the plan.
"We will prevent them from kidnapping more [people] and we will try to recover those [whom they are still holding captive]," he said, adding that the two groups are holding 27 local and foreign hostages.
President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to crush the Abu Sayyaf since the bandit group killed two Canadian hostages -- Robert Hall and John Ridsdel -- last year.
Mr. Duterte apologized to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the killings and promised to arrest the "criminals and exact justice."
But how he viewed the Abu Sayyaf became uncertain in July when he said during Hari Raya Eid al-Fitr celebration in Davao City that the kidnappings carried out by the group were not crimes.
"You’ve never heard me say [they are] criminals. It is a different setup there because these are the guys who were driven to desperation," he said.
On Aug. 12, however, he said he did not know who the Abu Sayyaf were and what they stood for, but "we have to destroy them."
On Aug 26, he said he once admired the Abu Sayyaf and he had ordered the police and the military to "destroy them because they are criminals."
He said the government had all the resources to finish the Abu Sayyaf in one week.
In September last year, speaking at a side event to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Laos, Mr. Duterte vowed to make the Abu Sayyaf pay for their crimes, saying he would "eat" the "alive."
The Maute Group is believed to be responsible for the on a night market in Davao City that killed 15 people and injured 70 others on Sept. 2 last year.
The group is also a suspect in the two s that injured 32 people in Hilongos, Leyte province, on Dec. 28.
Mr. Duterte has ordered the Philippine National Police to crush the Maute Group as soon as possible.
In the case of the (BIFF), which broke away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), with which the government is talking peace, Lorenzana said he was satisfied with support and cooperation from local residents in combating the violent group.
To beef up its forces, Lorenzana said, the AFP will recruit 10,000 soldiers this year. President Duterte approved the recruitment last year, he added.
Lorenzana said the recruits would be trained for one year then would be deployed in 2018.
|2017-01-10 Southeast Asia|
|[MANILATIMES.NET] At least five to ten foreign have sought refuge in the country, the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) disclosed on Monday.|
Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa told a news briefing in Camp Crame in Quezon City that these foreign are of different nationalities.
"I cannot give you the exact figure but as far as police intelligence is concerned we are monitoring at least five to ten of different nationalities," dela Rosa said.
He admitted that Filipino intelligence operatives are having a hard time looking for the Malay-looking terrorists.
The Philippine National Police chief they had received information that the foreign are training in the country for deployment later to strife-torn Syria.
One of those who had finished training in the Philippines, according to dela Rosa, was a suspected member of the jihadist group Ansar al-Khilafa Philippines (AKP) killed in Sarangani province in southern Mindanao last Saturday.
"This Sudanese was bound for Syria. So this group AKP is really aligned with the ISIS," he said.
The slain foreigner was identified as Abu Naila and his wife, a certain Kadija, was also killed during an operation in Barangay Daliao, Maasim town.
Superintendent Romeo Galgo, for the Central Mindanao regional police, said one of the suspects attempted to lob a grenade at sent to arrest them, prompting the authorities to shoot them.
Police killed last Thursday morning the leader of the AKP, Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, alias Tokboy.
A source from the police intelligence community had said that one of the Malaysian terror suspect being monitored hiding in Mindanao is Amin Baco alias Abu Jihad.
The intelligence source said Abu Jihad is a member of the Indonesian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) who has been given safe refuge by the Group (ASG) in Sulu in Mindanao.
The source added that Abu Jihad is also helping ASG members recruit locally.
The intelligence source said the Malaysian suspect was involved in past bombing incidents in Mindanao and is one of the five JI members who has been hiding in Sulu under the protection of the ASG.
The source from the police intelligence community added that a foreign terrorist from the Kihilafa Islamiya Movement (KIM) is training members of the ASG in guerilla warfare in in in Lanao del Sur.
The ASG and KIM are among the terrorist groups in southern Philippines that have pledged allegiance to the ISIS.
The source from the intelligence community identified the foreign terrorist trainor as Abdurahman, a n and a JI member.
The intelligence source said Abdurahman has been staying in the country for many years.
The source added that Abdurahman is married to a Tausug and residing at a mosque near a mall in Davao City.
According to the intelligence source, the IM has received funding from a support group in Saudi Arabia.
|2017-01-10 Southeast Asia|
|[RAPPLER] Two were killed in a follow-up police operation against local terror group Ansar Khalifa Philippines (AKP) Saturday morning, January 7, in barangay Daliao of Sarangani's Maasim town.|
Security officials identified them as foreign terrorist Abu Naila and a woman named Kadija. The 2 reportedly resisted arrest. Cops fired at them when they attempted to throw a rifle grenade.
Naila's nationality and affiliation are yet to be ascertained, but he is only one of several foreign believed to have joined the local terror group that pledged allegiance to the Kadija is suspected be one of the live-in partners of AKP's slain leader Mohammad Jaafar Maguid or "Tokboy."
Police said they will continue pursuit operations against foreign who have joined AKP in Sarangani.
Security officials claim AKP has no direct links with the foreign terrorist organization, but the group has confirmed links with Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
"Tokboy was trained by key JI leaders, including Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, better known as Marwan, the high profile target of the Mamasapano tragedy that derailed the peace talks," wrote Rappler executive editor Maria Ressa.
"AKP under Tokboy has a direct link to Indonesian groups, especially MIT, Mujihidin Indonesia Timur, led by an Indonesian who trained in the Philippines, Santoso," Ressa added.
AKP is also believed to be behind threats against the November 2015 APEC Summit in Manila, which was spread by ISIS propaganda sites.
|2017-01-10 Southeast Asia|
|[FREEMALAYSIATODAY] Police have told state religious departments to be more aggressive in monitoring Islamist preachers to ensure they do not promote radical ideologies that could inspire terrorist acts.|
Bukit Aman’s anti-terrorism chief, Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, said a lack of enforcement by religious authorities had given room to foreign and local preachers to engage with the public unmonitored. Some of them were spreading teachings that were not in line with mainstream Sunni beliefs, he added.
“We have noticed that some of these teachings lean towards extremism although the contents do not directly tell the listeners to cause harm to fellow Muslims,” he said.
He gave the example of preachers who would not directly tell their audiences that some Ahli Sunnah Wa al-Jamaah (SWJ) teachings were blasphemous but would call them “bid’ah (innovative)” instead.
Some of these preachers’ followers, being aware of prophetic traditions that condemn innovation in religion, might conclude that it would be permissible to kill the so-called innovators among SWJ adherents, Ayob said.
He said his department’s role did not include monitoring preachers, but added that it nevertheless had a list of suspects.
“If the teachings are against true Islamic teachings, we will advise the religious departments on the preachers and it is up to them to take further action,” he said. “By right, the preachers should get permission from the state religious department, but apparently many do not.”
He said the department’s current list included some preachers hailing from West Asian and African countries.
Ayob spoke of a Singaporean preacher, 64-year-old Rasul Dahri, who was arrested for the third time last year. He had been active in the Klang Valley and Johor for a few years although the National Fatwa Council, as well as the Penang Religious Department, had banned seven of his books.
He also spoke of terror suspect Mas Selamat Kastari of Singapore, whom Malaysian police arrested in April 2009, more than a year after he escaped from detention in his home country. He said Mas followed Rasul Dahri’s classes in Johor between between 1987 and 1989 before deciding to join Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
Citing other examples, Ayob said JI leaders Abu Bakar Bashir and Abdullah Sungkar managed to sneak into Malaysia in 1985 because of lack of monitoring by religious departments.
“This resulted in the recruitment of almost 300 Malaysians and citizens of other Asean countries as JI members.”
Ayob said the Johor religious department was one of the strictest in the country when it came to enforcing the law. “It is very stern and would not allow preachers without credentials and approval to teach in the state.”
He also commended the religious departments of Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Terengganu, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak for strictness of enforcement.
A counter-terrorism expert from Universiti Malaya said yesterday that religious departments should work harder to filter the activities of preachers in the country to curtail the spread of “salafi jihadi” ideologies.
Balakrishnan RK Suppaiah acknowledged that countering the extremist ideology was difficult, but he said Malaysia could do it because it had the “right foundation” and a good police force.
“People will question you for monitoring places of worship,” he said. “But we have to do it because we are a moderate country where religion is concerned.”
|2016-12-04 Southeast Asia|
|[Business Mirror] Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte will not likely meet his forecast of ending terrorism in Mindanao by this month, given the results of the operations against the Abu Sayyaf, which he had entrusted to Armed Forces Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya with an accompanying explicit order of finishing the insurgent group "to the last man."|
Visaya is retiring on December 8 but, not only the campaign against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu and Basilan, which is being undertaken by 18 battalions of soldiers and six companies of militiamen, is still to reach its full operational tempo.
The problem has even widened with a new front in the anti-terror campaign, due to the Lanao del Sur-based Maute Group. The previously unheralded Maute Group has turned into a full-blown Moro jihadi organization that is in the league of the Abu Sayyaf in less than five months - even bolder, in fact.
The Maute group, which the military initially considered to be aligned with Jemaah Islamiyah, but confined in Lanao del Sur, has steadily built its reputation as a terrorist group that the Philippine government will have to contend in the years to come.
The group has built its memberships from the rosters of young radicalized fighters from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, who shared the same stronghold in Lanao del Sur.
While the Abu Sayyaf has mostly carried out its bombings in Mindanao, the Maute Group ushered its first publicly known bombing right in Duterte's hometown of Davao City in September, killing 14 people and wounding at least 70 others.
On Monday a bomb was recovered near the U.S. Embassy in Manila, which was attributed to the Maute Group, because of the similarity of the bomb with the one used in Davao City.
The Maute was among the three groups, after the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, that have pledged their allegiance to Daesh.
|2016-11-28 Southeast Asia|
The -- all from a domestic cell affiliated with the Syria-based group -- had amassed enough explosives to create bombs more powerful than those used in the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, police say.
"They were helping plan a against parliament, the national police headquarters, the embassy of Myanmar and several television stations," national police Rikwanto said in a text message.
Anger is growing in Indonesia and other parts of world over what has been described as the "ethnic cleansing" of Rohingya in Myanmar's Rakhine state.
Refugees fleeing into Bangladesh say Myanmar's military has been leading a campaign of rape and murder against the homeless ethnic group.
Thousands of s rallied in capitals across Asia on Friday demanding an end to the violence.
In Indonesia, the world's largest -majority country, protesters urged their government to cut diplomatic ties with Yangon.
Indonesia's anti-terror unit Wednesday nabbed suspected bomb maker Rio Priatna Wibowo and seized a significant quantity of high-grade explosives from a laboratory west of the capital Jakarta.
His arrest led to the capture of two other suspected in different parts of the country, Rikwanto said Sunday.
Bahrain Agam was detained Saturday for allegedly purchasing the explosives while Saiful Bahri was arrested Sunday accused of helping assemble the bombs, said Rikwanto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
Indonesian police say it remains unclear when exactly the planned to carry out their assault, but that they had enough explosives to detonate a blast more than double that which levelled nightclubs in Bali in a inferno.
All three were members of Jemaah Ansar Daulah, a local outfit that has sworn allegiance to IS, Rikwanto said.
|2016-11-05 Southeast Asia|
Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, commonly known as Ahok, is alleged to have insulted Islam by criticizing his opponents’ use of a Koranic verse in a stump speech.
As many as 18,000 police and military personnel have been deployed for Friday’s protest, and an inner ring of approximately 100 armed military guards are outside the Governor’s residence, CNN Indonesia says.
Local media suggest as many as 50,000 people could take to the streets. There are fears that ISIS, and al-Qaeda, through its Indonesian proxy Jemaah Islamiyah, could seek to ferment violence.
Police have called on demonstrators to exercise their right to protest and freedom of expression in a peaceful manner. Residents have been warned to avoid the protest route and avoid sharing "unclear... provocative and incorrect information" on social media, Police Chief Tito Karnavian said in a statement.
The rally originates at Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta and will end at the Presidential palace. Governments, including the UK and Australia, have urged their citizens in the city to exercise caution.
Conservative Islamist opponents say that Ahok, who is a Christian of Chinese descent, should not administer a -majority city.
They had previously quoted a verse from the holy book at a rally, which warns against s allying themselves with non-believers.
Ahok is a key ally of President Joko Widodo and was his deputy when Widodo -- also known as Jokowi -- was governor of Jakarta. Ahok is now the frontrunner in the 2017 gubernatorial race.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo with Ahok after the latter’s swearing in as governor on November 19, 2014.
Jokowi has called for calm and is seeking support from Prabowo Subianto, his opponent in next year’s presidential election.
Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whose son is running against Ahok, made a speech two days ago calling for the governor to be persecuted to placate the Islamist opposition and quell the protests.
|2016-10-31 Southeast Asia|
|[GULFTODAY.AE] The military reported that a member of the Al Qaeda-linked terror group was slain in an encounter on the island province of Sulu in Mindanao even as it announced the arrest of four other suspects in the Sept.2 terror bombing of a popular night market in Davao City, the hometown of President Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte.|
Brigadier General Arnel dela Vega, the chief of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said the slain was among the eight heavily who clashed with an elite team of Army Scout Rangers in a village in the town of Indanan at dawn on Sunday.
Dela Vega said the clash occurred when a team of Scout Rangers was sent to check on the complaint of residents regarding the presence of eight heavily armed Abu Sayyaf in their village.
When they fled, the left behind their slain comrade along with an M16 assault rifle to which was attached a grenade launcher as well as an improvised bomb, Dela Vega said.
The killing brought to 37 the total suffered by the Abu Sayyaf since Duterte ordered the military in July to launch an intensified "search and destroy" operation against the Abu Sayyaf who operate with impunity on the island provinces of Sulu and A total of 15 soldiers were also killed with 28 others , Dela Vega said as he vowed: "The focused military operation will continue until we deal a crippling blow to the Abu Sayyaf and rescue their remaining hostages."
Regional and Filipino security experts have confirmed the link of the Abu Sayyaf to the global Al Qaeda terror network through the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah s.
Colonel Benjamin Hao, the Army , reported the arrest of four other suspects in the deadly on Sept.2 terrorist bombing of a night market in Davao City that killed at least 15 people and 68 others.
Hao said the suspects were members of the Dawla Islamiya Fi Cotabato-Maute Group, a criminal organization that claims to have links with the in the Middle East and the Abu Sayyaf.
The suspects, Hao said, were in separate raids in Cotabato City that also resulted in the confiscation of several short firearms and hand grenades based on search warrants issued by a regional court.
|2016-10-27 Home Front: WoT|
|[AnNahar] A Southeast Asian terror who has been accused over a series of high-profile attacks will stay in detention at Guantanamo Bay after U.S. officials rejected his bid for release.|
A U.S. government body tasked with reducing the number of inmates at Guantanamo said that Indonesian Riduan Isamuddin, better known by his nom de guerre , still represented a "significant threat to the security of the United States."
The decision is likely to be welcomed by governments in Southeast Asia as signs indicate that the influence of the (IS) group has sparked a resurgency in militancy.
Hambali, who was captured in 2003 and sent to Guantanamo three years later, was believed to be al-Qaeda's top representative in Southeast Asia and operational chief of regional group Jemaah Ismaliyah (JI).
He was accused of helping the 2002 bombings on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali that left 202 people dead, and plotting other attacks in Indonesia, as well as on U.S. airliners.
Hambali appeared before the Periodic Review Board at Guantanamo in August seeking his release after 10 years in detention without charge.
However the board said in a statement rejecting his request that Hambali had a "lengthy history as a jihadist" and had played a "significant role in major terrorist attacks and plotting".
After US President unveiled a roadmap to close Guantanamo in February, the Indonesian government expressed opposition to the potential return of Hambali to the country.
The number of prisoners at Guantanamo, set up on Cuba after the attacks on the US on September 11, 2001, is down to 60 as Obama seeks to fulfil a pledge to shutter the facility before leaving office.
Indonesia, the world's most populous -majority country, had succeeded in weakening dangerous networks, including JI, with a tough crackdown following the Bali bombings. However IS has inspired a string of attacks and plots in the past year in Indonesia and other parts of the region, including a deadly gun and assault in Jakarta in January claimed by the jihadists.
|2016-10-24 Southeast Asia|
|[GMANETWORK] Police on Sunday killed an alleged member of the Group, who was also included in the drugs watchlist in Lantawan, The Basilan Police Provincial Office identified the slain suspect as Said Ummal alias Said Usman.|
The suspect was killed by members of the Lantawan Police Station at around 12:35 p.m.
Policemen were serving an arrest warrant against the suspect when he allegedly fired at the lawmen.
The Basilan police said Ummal is listed as the fifth most wanted person in Lantawan town and was being suspected as a drug pusher.
It said the suspect is facing several criminal charges and was among those who the provincial jail last January 27.
|2016-10-21 Southeast Asia|
|[GMANETWORK] An member with a P600,000 bounty on his head was Wednesday by government security forces in a manhunt operation in Maluso, A news release from the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group on Thursday said Ibrahim Akbar, also known as Ustadz Atti Lintogan, Ustadz Atti, or Ustadz Namir, was arrested by virtue of an arrest warrant.|
Akbar is facing charges of multiple murder with multiple frustrated murder.
CIDG Region 9 chief Senior Superintendent Anthony Aberin said Akbar was involved in a bombing attack in Kidapawan City in 2006, and the abduction of Spanish priest Bernardo Blanco in 1993. He was also allegedly involved in a firefight against military troops in 1982 in Basilan.
Elements of the Philippine Army, Philippine National Police Special Action Force, and Maluso Municipal Police joined the CIDG in the manhunt operation.
The Abu Sayyaf is a loosely organized band of Islamic fundamentalists operating in Basilan and Sulu and is known to conduct bombing and kidnapping activities.
the CIDG served four search warrants against against two members of a criminal group on Thursday morning in Maghayag, Zamboanga Del Sur.
Authorities identified the suspects as Julie Monsanto Lato and Rodrigo Monsanto Lato Jr., both alleged members of the Lato Gun-for-Hire Group.
The suspects will face charges in violation the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act and Illegal Possession of Explosives for possessing a hand grenade, shotgun, one caliber .45 pistol, magazines, and assorted ammunition.
|2016-10-21 Southeast Asia|
|[NST.MY] A factory clerk's strong curiosity about terrorist groups and possession of terror-related items has landed her in jail for two years. |
Rafidah Juma'at, 26, who was clad in all black, admitted to committing the offence before High Court judge Datuk Mohamad Shariff Abu Samah today.
In his judgement, Mohamad Shariff said even though no evidence proved that the accused has any intention of joining a terror group, keeping books and photos linked to shows that the accused is a supporter of terrorists.
"You have to be careful. You have a family and whenever you feel like you want to join in the fight, please remember their faces.
"If you really want to fight, fight for your family members first or for our friends in Baitul Maqdis," Mohamad Shariff said.
He ordered Rafidah's jail sentence to run from the date of her arrest on March 24.
The accused was charged on June 8 at the Seri Manjung magistrate's court in Perak for having in her possession items related to terrorism at a house in Taman Bistari, Air Tawar, on March 24, this year. The terror-related items were linked to groups (IS), al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). She was charged under Section 130JB(1)(a) of the Penal Code which carries a jail term of not more than seven years or a fine.
In pleading for leniency, Rafidah's counsel, PA Sharon, said her client, who is the fourth child out of seven siblings, is supporting her mother and younger siblings.
"She had no intention of being exposed to the terrorist group... it was just her strong curiosity to know about what was happening.
"Now she wants to become a better person and intends to continue working at a concrete production factory to support and care for her mother and younger siblings, as she is the one who has been taking care of them before she was ," Sharon said.
|2016-10-20 Southeast Asia|
|[FRONTERANEWS] Abu Bakar Ba’asyir personifies the changing shape of terrorism in Southeast Asia.|
The surviving co-founder of Indonesia’s local Jemaah Islamiyah jihadist movement, Ba’asyir has denied any personal ties with . Yet he also openly voiced support for the dead Al Qaeda leader and his group has collaborated closely on training.
|2016-10-20 Southeast Asia|
|[THESTANDARD.PH] INTELLIGENCE reports have confirmed the link of an drug suspect in Quezon City to the Group, an official said Wednesday.|
Sr. Supt. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar of the Quezon City Police District said Juraid Sahiddun, who was arrested as a maintainer of a shabu den at the Culiat Salaam compound on Sept. 16, had been using different names to hide his criminal records in He made his statement even as the military said 12 local and foreign hostages of the Abu Sayyaf Group were still waiting to be rescued in Sulu.
The military also said a suspected member of the Abu Sayyaf was arrested in Talipao town on Tuesday. Sahiddun, or Sahibul Sailani or Juraid Sahibul, was involved in the mass abduction of 15 Golden Harvest Coconut Plantation workers in Tairan, Lantawan, Basilan in June 2001 at the height of the Dos Palmas kidnapping incident, Eleazar said.
He said he was also involved in the series of encounters and ambuscades against pursuing military forces and the planting of several land mines in a road network in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan, to blow up armored vehicles.
He said the suspect and other members of the Abu Sayyaf were put under surveillance after they took refuge with relatives and friends in Metro Manila.
Sahibul has a standing warrant of arrest for his involvement in the Tairan abduction in 2001.
He is facing drug charges before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.
On Sept. 16, authorities raided the Salaam compound that led to the arrest of 145 drug suspects including Sahiddun. Rio N. Araja and Florante S. Solmerin
|2016-09-25 Home Front: WoT|
|[THEMALAYMAILONLINE] Mohamad Bashir Lap, one of the two Malaysians being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp may be transferred to Malaysia but he will have to continue to undergo the deradicalisation process in prison, said Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.|
He said this information was conveyed to him during the meeting he had on Wednesday with Lee Wolowsky, the United States Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure.
"This possibility is in tandem with our efforts to bring home the Malaysian detainees in Guantanamo Bay," Ahmad Zahid, who is also the home minister, told Malaysian journalists yesterday.
Ahmad Zahid had led the Malaysian delegation to the 71st session of the General Assembly here.
Mohamad Bashir and Mohd Farik Amin are the two Malaysians being held at Guantanamo Bay detention camp since 2006 for their involvement with the Jemaah Islamiyah group in early 2000.
They are also alleged to have been involved in the bombing at the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in 2003 and were detained in Bangkok that year.
Ahmad Zahid said the US Periodic Review Board, by consensus, determined that "continued law of war detention of the detainees remains necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States".
" the United States has informed of the possibility of one of them (Mohamad Bashir) being sent back to Malaysia, but he has to continue to undergo the deradicalisation process," he said.
As such, Ahmad Zahid said, a high-level committee under his chairmanship would be established immediately pertaining to the matter.
The committee would comprise representatives from the Home Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Defence Ministry, National Security Council, Attorney-General's Chambers, Royal Malaysia Police, Prisons Department and Immigration Department, he added.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/zahid-one-malaysian-detainee-at-guantanamo-bay-may-be-sent-home#sthash.aFUTK0lU.dpuf
|2016-09-25 Southeast Asia|
|[UPI] Twenty members of the group surrendered to the Philippines, the military announced.|
An assortment of firearms, including two homemade shotguns, were confiscated as the Islamist s, aligned with the and involved in bombings, kidnappings and attacks since 1991, surrendered Thursday in Sumisip on the island province of "This is the result of the relentless operation we are conducting where they suffered lots of casualties," said Col. Thomas Donato Jr. of the Philippine army's 104th Brigade. "We are very open for surrenderees. We want to end this war in peace and pave the way for development in Basilan."
The Philippine military overran several Abu Sayyaf strongholds in the southern Philippines in recent weeks, and local authorities believe other Abu Sayyaf members are ready to surrender, CNN reported Friday.
"It's time to end this terrorist problem in our country. We want to make Basilan a peaceful place to live so that development will prosper. We are closely working with the [military] to decimate all these terrorist groups," Sumisip Mayor Gulam Boy Hattaman said.
|2016-09-20 Southeast Asia|
|[MB.PH] Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno said on Saturday that authorities are hunting down at least four suspects responsible for the September 2 in Davao City that killed 14 people and more than 70 others.|
Sueno said the suspects are said to be members of a local Islamic group which had links with slain Indonesian terrorist Bin Hir Zulkifli alias Marwan who was killed in a police commando raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2014.
Sueno graced the Project Duterte tennis tournament here organized by the Police Regional Office-12 and Sultan Kudarat Gov. Pax Mangudadatu.
He said the suspects in the Davao Bombing were among those local trained by Marwan on bomb making.
Marwan, the leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, Islamic terror network in Southeast Asia, fled to Mindanao in 2010 where he conducted trainings to members of , a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Sueno said authorities are also investigating the involvement of some narco- politicians in the Davao .
|2016-09-06 Southeast Asia|
|[RAPPLER] Although the government declared a state of lawlessness, authorities have released little concrete information about the that killed at least 14 people in Davao City’s night market Friday, September 2, 2016.|
On Saturday morning, September 3, radio station DZMM said the for the blast in an interview with a self-proclaimed for Al Harakatul Al Islamiyah, the formal name used by the Abu Sayyaf.
|2016-09-01 Southeast Asia|
|[JAPANTIMES.CO.JP] During a May 2011 shootout, Indonesia’s counterterrorism forces killed the leader of a group thought to be behind a series of failed bomb attempts around the city of Solo in Central Java.|
The death of Team Hisbah founder Sigit Qurdowi caused the group to splinter. Some formed an anti-vice squad in the city; many others became associated with a former Solo resident called Bahrun Naim, who authorities believe is a leading Indonesian coordinator for the group.
Now, five years later, Naim, based in the IS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, is building an ever-more-sophisticated network of from his former hometown, according to police, self-proclaimed and people who work with the in Solo.
Solo, which has a long history of schools and mosques associated with radical Islamists, is a breeding ground for Naim’s recruits, counterterrorism officials say, and many of his lieutenants in Indonesia have come from Team Hisbah.
As a result, authorities fear the risk of a major attack in Indonesia is growing.
Islamist militancy in the world’s most populous -majority nation has been contained since a crackdown on Jemaah Islamiyah -- al-Qaeda’s franchise in the region -- put hundreds of its leaders and followers behind bars in the mid-2000s.
But like al-Qaeda before it, IS is reviving a fragmented radical Islamist movement in Indonesia that has endured in various incarnations for the past century, authorities say.
Nearly $800,000 has been transferred from foreign countries to fund radical Islamist groups in Indonesia since 2014, officials from Indonesia’s financial transactions watchdog said at an international counterterrorism conference in Bali in mid-August. It wasn’t clear how much money has come from Naim, who police say is now Indonesia’s most-wanted .
contacted a man identified as Naim last November on the Telegram app, using details provided by one of his acquaintances. In that exchange, Naim said IS had "enough men in Indonesia to carry out an action, more than enough support. Just waiting for the right trigger." could not independently verify the man’s identity or his assertions.
Amir Mahmud, a former Afghan-trained mujahedeen, started the Islamic State Supporters Forum in Solo -- a city also known as Surakarta -- in July 2014 to "accommodate the development" of a jihadi movement in Indonesia.
Around 2,000 people showed up to one of its first gatherings at the Baitul Makmur Mosque, where many backed an Islamist caliphate in the Middle East, he said.
"This is a spontaneous spiritual calling," said Mahmud, who is also an Islamic university lecturer. "Islamic State is a booming movement."
Mahmud said two of his sons left Indonesia to fight for IS in the Middle East, and one has been killed.
Indonesia does not prohibit citizens from supporting groups such as IS or fighting for them abroad. Police say they can arrest terrorism suspects only once they have committed a crime on Indonesian soil.
|2016-08-24 Southeast Asia|
|[Mindanao Examiner] At least three Philippine soldiers and a militiaman were killed in fierce gun battles Tuesday with Abu Sayyaf militants in Basilan province. One civilian was also injured after being hit by stray bullets.|
Officials said the fighting broke out in Tuburan town where security forces are pursuing the Abu Sayyaf. No other details were immediately available, but the military previously captured two Abu Sayyaf encampments in Tipo-Tipo town and claim to have killed at least 45 militants – although no bodies have been recovered – in a month-long operation in Basilan.
The clashes coincided with an Abu Sayyaf grenade attack on the residence of Catholic priests in Jolo town in Sulu province . No casualties were reported in the attack carried out by two men riding tandem on a motorbike.
5 troops killed in clashes with Abu Sayyaf
[AA.TR] At least five Philippine troops have been killed in with a -linked group as fighting resumed outside three towns in the south from which the military recently pushed back s.
Richard Falcatan, dxN0 radio station manager, told Anadolu Agency that three soldiers and two government were killed in two separate Tuesday in the troubled island province of , where the military recently overran Abu Sayyaf encampments.
He quoted Governor Jim Hataman-Saliman as saying that three soldiers and a militiaman died in fighting in Tuburan town, where the Abu Sayyaf reportedly fled after government troops captured at least three of their hilltop strongholds in Tipo-Tipo town last week.
A second encounter broke out after Abu Sayyaf members reportedly fired on verifying reports on the presence of in Sumisip town, leaving a militia volunteer dead and three others .
Meanwhile in the neighboring island province of Sulu, the Abu Sayyaf was blamed for a hand grenade attack on a Catholic convent in a dawn attack in which no casualties were reported.
|2016-08-23 Southeast Asia|
|[NST.MY] The Malaysian government has urged the Guantanamo Prison's Periodic Review Board to reject an appeal for the release of former Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) leader Riduan Isamuddin, also known as Hambali, as he could still pose a security threat in Southeast Asia.|
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohammed said that Hambali was a former group leader who may still have strong influence over the group's remnants in this region and could spur a resurgence of the JI activities, particularly in Malaysia.
"The JI group may still have followers and they may be waiting for Hambali's release to revive the movement, although it was mopped out some 10 years ago.
"This is a matter of national security and great priority should be given to this. These factors should outweigh the release of a man who is capable to train anyone into a radical soldier," said Nur Jazlan after a working visit to the Home Ministry Complex in Taman Setia Tropika, today.
He said although Hambali was from Indonesia, the man had been residing in Malaysia for many years in the past and was involved in recruiting new JI members, including at a former base camp in Ulu Tiram, here.
Hambali is one of 61 detainees at the Guantanamo facility in Cuba where high-value detainees and are held.
|2016-08-20 Terror Networks|
|[HUMANRIGHTSFIRST.ORG] Yesterday, Gitmo detainee Encep Nurjaman, better known by his alias, "Hambali," appeared before the Periodic Review Board (PRB) for the first time to advocate for his release. One of 15 remaining "high-value" detainees, Hambali has been consistently referred to in both national and international media as the "Bin Laden of Indonesia."|
According to the Senate intelligence committee’s torture report, he was considered "the CIA's ’number one target’ in Southeast Asia" shortly after the 9/11 attacks. The Indonesian government recently stated it considers it too great a danger for Hambali to return to the country. his representatives describe him as a "respectful and energetic" man, who "wants nothing more than to move on with his life and be peaceful."
The U.S. government believes that Hambali was involved in the 2000 Christmas Eve attacks, a series of bombings in churches across eight cities in Indonesia carried out by al Qaeda and the Indonesian group Jemaah Islamiyah. He allegedly helped plan the Bali bombings in 2002, which killed 202 and injured 209 more.
The government also alleges that in 2003 Hambali facilitated al Qaeda’s financing for the bombing of the Jakarta Marriott Hotel, which killed 12 people and injured 150. It also believes Hambali was involved in planning post-9/11 attacks against U.S. interests and that he provided a microbiologist to al Qaeda to assist it in developing an anthrax program.
Hambali was captured in 2003 and arrived at Guantanamo Bay in 2005. Despite the serious allegations against him, he has never been charged with a crime.
Although Hambali’s personal representatives said he "has no ill will toward the U.S.," and the government described him as "mostly compliant," it also asserted that Hambali "remains steadfast in his support for causes and his hatred for the US," and "has been heard promoting violent jihad while leading daily prayers and lectures."
There are currently 61 detainees still at Guantanamo, with 20 cleared for release. Four detainees are still eligible for their first PRB hearing and nine are waiting on decisions. The Obama Administration has stated that it plans to complete all initial PRB hearings and transfer all cleared detainees by this fall.
|2016-08-18 Southeast Asia|
|[GULFTODAY.AE] A 28-year-old Indonesian sailor who was reportedly due for beheading on the island province of Sulu in restive Mindanao escaped the Al Qaeda-linked who held him hostage since his abduction and six other companions in June, the military reported on Wednesday.|
Major Filemon Tan, the of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, identified the escapee as Mohammad Safyan, one of seven Indonesian crewmen aboard a tugboat who were by the Abu Sayyaf off the Sulu Sea on June 23.
Tan said Safyan was rescued by residents when he was caught in a fishnet off the coastal village of the town of Luuk, Sulu on Wednesday morning.
Tan quoted Safyan was saying he decided to escape after the reportedly informed him he was due for beheading, apparently for their alleged failure to pay their ransom demand.
Tan added Safyan told military authorities he made a successful but wild dash for freedom in a mangrove swamp where he and the other hostages spent the night.
The military said Safyan was one of seven Indonesian crewmen including their skipper aboard an Indonesian tugboat loaded with coal who were by the Abu Sayyaf off the Sulu Sea on June 23.
At the same time, Tan announced that elite members of the Army Special Forces overrun and seized two camps maintained by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu’s neighbouring island province of One of the camps seized is located in a mountain village in the town of Tipo-Tipo, Basilan which is well-fortified and equipped with bunkers, tunnels and foxholes, according to Tan.
|2016-08-10 Southeast Asia|
|[UPI] Four died in a battle with members of the Moro National Liberation Front early Tuesday in the Philippines' southern province of Sulu, military officials said.|
The encounter occurred on Jolo Island during ongoing talks between Abu Sayyaf and the one-time rebel group for the release of seven hostages, a military said.
Maj. Felimon Tan, of the Armed Forces of the Western Mindanao Command, said in a statement that Abu Sayyaf sub-commander Alhabsy Misaya fought with MNLF fighters in Kalingalang Caluang where some hostages are being kept.
Tan said the MNLF operation and its efforts against the Abu Sayyaf were not sanctioned by the military. he said, the military backs help maintaining peace in the province.
The MNLF said it killed Jennor Lahab, also known as Cmdr. Jim Dragon, and his son. Other Abu Sayyaf members have yet to be identified.
The four men's bodies were brought to the village of Punjungan for their families to claim.
|2016-08-09 Southeast Asia|
|[Ynet] Indonesian authorities said on Monday that several suspected on Batam island last week were part of a group that has "dozens of members" and has been active for two years.|
Anti-terror forces arrested six men on Friday on suspicion of planning a rocket attack on neighboring Singapore.
National police Boy Rafli Amar said the group mostly recruited members online and was taking instructions from Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian who has joined ISIS in Syria.
Anti-social media: Online chats foil Singapore rocket attack plan
[ ] It was social media chatter that gave him away. Changing his profile picture on the LINE messaging app to a banner pledging "Indonesian support and solidarity for ISIS" probably didn't help.
Had it not been for all that, Gigih Rahmat Dewa's plot to launch a rocket attack on the city-state of Singapore from a nearby Indonesian island might never have been uncovered.
Gigih, 31, and five accomplices were arrested on Batam island on Friday after an investigation that showed how much Indonesia's Islamist militants now rely on social media, including with a Syria-based Islamic State jihadi who allegedly directed them to stage attacks.
It also underlined how militants in the world's most populous Muslim nation, once tight-knit under the Jemaah Islamiah group and internally focused, are splintering into smaller gangs loosely linked to Islamic State with increasingly regional ambitions.
"The men in Batam seem to have been radicalized over social media, specifically using Facebook, rather than directly," said police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar.
|2016-08-07 Southeast Asia|
|[BOSTONHERALD] Indonesia's counter-terrorism police on Friday six suspected who were allegedly planning to launch a rocket attack on downtown Singapore from nearby Batam island.|
The Indonesian men were captured Friday on the Indonesian island, which is about 25 kilometers (15 miles) southeast of Singapore, said National Police Maj. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar.
He said the arrests, which included the 31-year-old alleged leader of the group, highlight the continued threat posed by in Indonesia despite a sustained crackdown by authorities.
"We have strong indications that the six men were planning to launch a rocket at Singapore's Marina Bay from Batam," Amar said. He would not confirm whether an actual rocket had been found in the police raid.
Marina Bay is a busy area close to the heart of Singapore's downtown filled with office towers, waterside eateries and tourist attractions, including one of Asia's biggest casinos.
Amar said all the men claimed they were members of Katibah Gigih Rahmat, a little-known group that helps Indonesian travel to Syria. Police believe it has received funds from Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian fighting with the group in Syria.
Naim has been linked to a succession of poorly executed attacks in Indonesia, including a outside police headquarters in the city of Solo last month that killed the bomber.
Singapore state media reported that local authorities were aware of the rocket plot.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement that Singapore's security agencies had coordinated with Indonesia to monitor the activities of the group and apprehend those involved.
Indonesia, the world's most populous nation, suffered a spate of deadly attacks by members of the Jemaah Islamiyah network, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.
|2016-08-01 Southeast Asia|
|[Gulf Today] Singapore said on Friday it has detained an Australia-based Singaporean who allegedly glorified Daesh. Zulfikar Mohamad Shariff is being held under the Internal Security Act for being a threat to national security, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a statement.|
"Zulfikar has made use of social media to propagate and spread his radical messages," the statement said in announcing his arrest this month.
Zulfikar's posts led to the radicalization of two other Singaporeans, a businessman and a security guard, the ministry said.
Zulfikar moved to Australia with his family in 2002. It is not clear why he returned to Singapore.
Zulfikar had also been supportive of terror groups like Al-Qaeda and its Southeast Asian affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah, according to the ministry. In Australia, he joined the Hizbut Tahrir while keeping in contact with radical imams and making "numerous Facebook postings glorifying and promoting the Daesh group," it added.
He set up a Facebook page called Al-Makhazin Singapore which he used as a platform to "agitate on Muslim issues" with a "real agenda" to replace Singapore's government with a Daesh state.
Following recent terror strikes worldwide, Singapore's leaders have renewed warnings that an attack on the country, is not a matter of if but when.
|2016-07-27 Southeast Asia|
|[THESTAR.MY] KLANG: Two men have been charged in a magistrate’s court here with being involved in terrorism activities.|
No pleas were recorded from Mohmad Zaini Mohmad Isa, 31, and Roshelmyzan Husain, 31, who nodded to indicate they understood the charges read out to them before magistrate Nor Asma Ahmad.
Mohmad Zaini is alleged to have provided support to the group in Telok Gadong Kecil, Jalan Yadi here, between March 25 and June 30 this year.
The charge under Section 130J(1)(a) of the Penal Code carries a maximum jail sentence of 30 years or a fine upon conviction.
He is also accused of harbouring Junios Ondie@ Jahali from arrest despite being aware that the latter could have committed a terrorist act.
For this, he is charged under Section 130K(a) of the Penal Code and faces a possible life sentence.
Roshelmyzan allegedly solicited support for the terrorist group through the Telegram app between March 25 and June 29.
He is also accused of possessing Islamic State paraphernalia in Port Klang on June 29. He could be seven years for this.
The court fixed Sept 7 for mention pending transfer of the case to the High Court. Deputy public prosecutor Syed Farid Syed Ali appeared for the prosecution while the men were unrepresented.
In Kuala Lumpur, a Master’s student in Islamic Studies at a public higher education institution claimed trial in the High Court to possession of 12 publications related to terrorism.
Siti Noor Aishah Atam, 29, allegedly had in her possession, books on Jemaah Islamiyah, Islamic State and al-Qaeda in Dungun, Terengganu, at 12.25pm on March 22.
Judicial commissioner Datuk Mohamad Shariff Abu Samah set three days for trial from Sept 5.
|2016-07-26 Southeast Asia|
|[THESTAR.MY] All the 15 -linked over the at the Movida Nightclub in Puchong, including the two , were from Kedah.|
In fact, 30 arrested were from the northern state, which was also the base for former PAS leader and Internal Security Act detainee Mohd Lotfi Ariffin who died while fighting in Syria on Sept 14, 2014.
Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division head Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ayob Khan said they were aware of the fact but insisted the state was not a factor.
"Unlike Jemaah Islamiyah, the IS spread their teachings through social media.
"They rely less on usra (talks) and more on technology to communicate and indoctrinate their followers," he told The Star yesterday.
While the JI elements were mainly operating from Johor, Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Sabah, SAC Ayob revealed that IS recruitment was much more widespread.
Since 2013, Perak has the most number of arrested at 33.
|2016-07-20 Southeast Asia|
|[Nikkei Asian Review] Indonesian police have confirmed the death the country's most-wanted terrorist with links to Daesh only a week after a new police chief was sworn in. Santoso, also known as Abu Wardah, had been in hiding for several years in the jungles of Poso district, Central Sulawesi Province, before he and another gunman were gunned down during a joint operation by police and the military on Monday afternoon.|
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said on Tuesday afternoon, "I've just received information that the fingerprint matches an old one of [Santoso]. He had been detained before, so we can conclude 100% that the dead person was Santoso."
The other rebel killed was identified as one of Santoso's followers.
Santoso, 40, was the commander of the Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT), which became the most prominent terror group in the country after police mostly managed to incapacitate Jemaah Islamiyah. JI, the Southeast Asian counterpart of al-Qaida, was responsible for large-scale terror attacks in Indonesia in the 2000s, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people. JI targeted Western establishments, but MIT became known for its series of attacks targeting police officers and police facilities in 2012.
Santoso was a former seller of Islamic books who was inspired by Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, a firebrand cleric and spiritual leader of JI currently detained in an Indonesian prison. His group had been holding paramilitary training for local militants in Poso jungles ,even before Santoso pledged his allegiance to Daesh in 2014. Santoso proclaimed himself the local Daesh "commander" in Indonesia in a video uploaded to YouTube in 2015. Santoso had been on the police's wanted list since 2007.
Apart from dozens of other MIT militants still hiding in the jungles of Poso, there are other terror cells in the nation operating independently, such as one led by a man called Bahrun Naim. Naim, who is believed to have joined Daesh in Syria, allegedly orchestrated a terror attack in Jakarta in January that killed eight people.
|2016-07-19 Southeast Asia|
|[INTERAKSYON] Reports reaching Manila indicated that a suspected member of the Al-Qaeda linked Group (ASG) was Sunday afternoon by combined police and military operatives during manhunt operation in Tipo-Tipo, The Director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Chief Supt. Roel Obusan, cited reports from the field identifying the arrested person as Hadji Biki Abdala alias 'Hadji Hassan'.|
Obusan said that Abdala or Hadji Hassan was collared by forces from the Western Mindanao Regional command based in Zamboanga City.
Abdala is wanted by authorities for nine counts of murder.
According to CIDG regional chief Senior Supt. John Guyguyon, Adbdala had been elusive in several entrapment operations launched against him.
"But this time, we were able to corner and arrest him," Guyguyon.
The ASG operates mainly in Basilan and Sulu, and has been involved in high-profile kidnappings of local and foreign victims.
|2016-07-19 Southeast Asia|
|[RAPPLER] Indonesia's most wanted terrorist may have been killed after a between the (MIT or East Indonesia Mujahideen) and task force Tinombala.|
Santoso, alias Abu Wardah, who leads MIT, is believed to be one of those who died on Monday, July 18. MIT has pledged allegiance to ISIS and has for past terror attacks.
Central Sulawesi Police Chief, who also serves as head of Tinombala Task Force, Brigadier General Rudy Sufahriadi was not willing to confirm the death just yet, but he confirmed a gunbattle ensued.
"Our members were involved in a gun fight. Two men died," he told Rappler, adding they retrieved an M16.
The bodies have been brought back for identification.
Sufahriadi did say however that some characteristics fit that of Santoso's.
"We do not know the identities. Our members said one had a mole on the cheek. Santoso has a mole," he said.
Earlier, former police chief, Gen. Badrodin Haiti said the distance between the members of the task force group and that of Santoso's was only a few kilometers, but forests are dense in Poso where the fight took place.
If Santoso was indeed one of the casualties, his death would be a success for the country's counterterrorism efforts as police and military have tried for many years to find him.
The threat posed by ISIS in Southeast Asia is comparatively small, but real, and it has the potential to become larger if not addressed properly. It is clear that ISIS reinvigorated existing terror networks in the region.
In the region, the center is Indonesia, the world’s 3rd largest democracy with more than 250 million people, the lynchpin of Southeast Asia. It also has the world’s largest population and has suffered the deadliest terrorist attacks in the region since the Bali bombings in 2002.
They were carried out by Jemaah Islamiyah and its offshoot groups, homegrown with funding, training and inspiration from al-Qaeda. Its latest incarnation is ISIS.
Since January, two bombings have taken place in Indonesia, at least one of which has been claimed by ISIS.
|2016-07-10 Southeast Asia|
|[Manila Times] Indonesian and Malaysian militants have joined the Abu Sayyaf in fighting Philippine security forces in Basilan province in the Muslim autonomous region.|
Abu Sayyaf chieftain Isnilon Hapilon is now the leader of Daesh's new battalion in the Philippines, the Katibah Al-Muhajir or the "Battalion of Migrants" comprised mostly of Indonesian and Malaysian jihadists. Malaysian media quoted Singapore-based terror expert Rohan Gunaratna as saying that the new battalion in Basilan was set up because of difficulties faced by Daesh recruits in going to Iraq and Syria.
Gunaratna was quoted as saying, "Now we have seen that in the Philippines, IS has created Katibah Al-Muhajir, the Battalion of Migrants. They are (made up of) Malaysians and Indonesians. There are about ten Malaysians (there now)."
Last month, Daesh released a video telling its Southeast Asian supporters to head to the Philippines if they found it difficult to come to Iraq and Syria. Gunaratna said, "The Philippines can be a very important launching pad to reach Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore because southern Philippines is very centrally located."
The Philippine military hasn't confirmed the new Daesh battalion, but security forces had previously killed several foreign jihadis in Basilan. Basilan province has reportedly become the center of power of the Abu Sayyaf after it pledged allegiance to the caliph of Daesh and named Hapilon as its new chieftain. Hapilon, alias Abu Abdullah, took over from Abu Sayyaf founder Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani who was killed in a police shootout in December 1998.
In a video released by the Abu Sayyaf late last year, more than two dozen gunmen, including children, led by Hapilon were shown hiking in the Basilan hinterlands of Basilan while chanting "Dawlah Islamiyah (Islamic State)" and reciting an Arabic vow of allegiance.
In the video, Hapilon was shown with Abu Harith Al-Filibbieni, reportedly the deputy commander of al-Ansar Infantry Division of Daesh, and Mohd Najib Husen (Hussein), alias Abu Annas Al Muhajir, a division head of the Ansar al-Sharia of Daesh. Husen was with other Malaysian jihadis – Mahmud Ahmad, Muhammad Joraimee Awang Raimee, Amin Baco and Jeknal Adil.
The militants explained in the video that they had previously done the bayah, but did it again in front of their new leaders. It is not known when the video was recorded, but it was released just after the military claimed in December that Husen was slain during operations in Basilan.
In Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur provinces, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Ansarul Khilafah also pledged allegiance to Daesh. Militants in Indonesia and Malaysia, including the Jemaah Islamiyah, have also done the same.
The jihadists also released a video of the Daesh's Alhayat Media Center which shows the Philippines as among countries in Southeast Asia they were planning to expand its 'caliphate'.
The Abu Sayyaf is now using the Daesh flag and also the Khilafah Islamiyah Movement and other radical groups in Lanao del Sur where local militants of the Ghuraba (Strangers) – both the Ghuraba and Khilafah Islamiyah Movement are led by a militant named Humam Abdul Najid, who was implicated in the 2013 Cagayan de Oro City bombings.
The Ghuraba is reportedly harboring foreign rebels, including an agent of the Jamaat al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, a group believed to be the original name of Daesh.
|2016-06-30 Southeast Asia|
|[ENGLISH.ALARABIYA.NET] In the heart of Solo city, not far from the Islamic boarding school founded by the radical who inspired the 2002 Bali bombings, the staff of an unremarkable-looking restaurant prepare for another day serving the humble staples of the Indonesian diet to hungry locals.|
The manager, a slightly built man with quick lively gestures, darts about the narrow kitchen, dropping ingredients into sizzling hot pans to make the bistik and other fare that customers including the local police crave. With a wife and two children to support, he also runs a car hire business and a laundry service on the side.
One of the millions of small-time business owners that keep the world’s most populous nation ticking, 40-year-old Mahmudi Haryono is also a poster boy for the transformation of a bomb maker and into a productive member of society.
To be sure, his extensive history doesn’t inspire easy trust. It includes being a combatant with the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines for three years, where he honed bomb making skills, and fighting in sectarian conflicts between s and Christians in Indonesia. He was less than a year after the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people and convicted of hiding materials used to make the bombs.
"The fact is that I trained in the Philippines as a Jihadi fighter to defend s and I did jihad only when s were oppressed in conflict regions. It was part of my past," Haryono said in an interview. "Today, my priority in life is taking care of my family and business and preaching a path to help reform radical inmates."
A private foundation has worked intensively with Haryono since his release from prison in 2009, and holds him up as an example of how hardened can be reformed. The need for such success stories is great in Indonesia, where several hundred men imprisoned for terrorism offenses have been paroled in the past several years, including 97 last years alone.
Since 2002, Indonesian authorities, with US and Australian help, have vastly improved their intelligence gathering and counterterrorism operations. The imprisonment of nearly 800 and the killing of more than 100 in raids have weakened the groups under the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network responsible for the Bali tragedy and dozens of other plots and attacks.
But efforts to de-radicalize in prison have been less successful, partly because ISIS inspires them to hold to extremism. Two perpetrators of the ISIS-inspired Jan. 14 in the Indonesian capital had been released from prison shortly before the attack.
"We have to admit the de-radicalization programs by the non-state groups, and the government, are not enough," said Taufik Andrie, executive director of Yayasan Prasasti Perdamaian, an institute that helps paroled and established the restaurant where Haryono works and now owns a stake in.
Andrie estimates that 40 percent of the more than 400 released as of December last year returned to their radical networks.
He said some of those people may want a normal life, but few Indonesians want to employ them, or even have them living in their neighborhoods. Back in their radical circles, they would be welcomed as heroes.
"When they are released, they are on their own. For them, society is a second prison because of the stigmatization," Andrie said.
In the Solo neighborhood of Ngruki, former Joko Purwanto, who uses the alias Handzollah, said he has slowly gained acceptance from the devout community that shunned him when he was released from prison two years ago.
The village of narrow lanes and tightly packed houses is dotted with shops selling hijabs and famously is home to the fundamentalist Al Mukmin Islamic boarding school founded by , the aging spiritual leader of the Bali bombers, who is now languishing in prison for his role in funding a training camp in Aceh.
Handzollah, a former student at Al Mukmin, fought alongside Haryono and was arrested in a 2010 raid on Bashir’s training camp. After his release, he said, neighbors ignored his greetings, and at the mosque a worshipper called him a terrorist who should be ostracized.
"I responded by doing good," the 41-year-old said. "I didn’t avoid them. Instead I tried to approach mainstream society.
"Gradually, they realized that I’ve changed."
Nowadays, Handzollah is popular as a preacher and often travels. Numerous children from two wives are supported by one wife’s business making snack foods for restaurants and shops.
He now says violent is not justifiable within Indonesia because s aren’t under attack. In common with other parolees, he denounces ISIS for killing s who reject its extreme interpretation of Islam.
"What I did in the past was a mistake. Many tenets of Islam were violated to do jihad, by doing bombing attacks in peaceful places like hotels, markets or other public areas that killed innocent people," he said.
Prized for his skill in repairing weapons, Handzollah said ISIS supporters have attempted to recruit him since he left prison. He said he has persuaded at least 10 young men not to travel to Syria to join the ISIS group.
Like Haryono and other former Jemaah Islamiyah interviewed by The , he still believes Indonesia should be governed by Islamic Shariah law, not a secular government, but says that goal should be achieved through peaceful methods.
Yet Handzollah does not unequivocally rule out a return to militancy.
"Of course the ideology of jihad remains inside me, because it’s part of Islam," he said. "I believe in Shariah law and an Islamic state, so, if someone is able to convince me with certain arguments - but this is very unlikely to me now - it may make me go back" to violence.
For those who support de-radicalization efforts, Handzollah represents a form of success but also underlines a dilemma for the government: Will doing more to support released join mainstream society help prevent future attacks, or provide the cover for to rebuild and plot?
Brig. Gen. Hamidin, director of prevention at Indonesia’s counterterrorism agency, said there are limits to what the government can do. It can’t provide former small-business loans, for example, since that could create a perception there’s a financial incentive for terrorism, he said. Instead, it plans to mentor released and help them get national ID cards, which are needed to apply for jobs, opening bank accounts and conducting other essential tasks.
Hamidin, who uses one name, says the government already has had some success. Government figures show that less than 10 percent of released have been re-arrested or killed in anti-terrorism operations. He concedes, however, that the number who returned to radicalism is much higher.
The recidivism figure doesn’t include those who joined ISIS in Syria, for instance. It’s not illegal for Indonesians to join conflicts abroad, though Parliament is considering a revamped law.
Andrie, from the institute, said it has been successful with most of the 30 men it has been involved with in the past five years. It finds ways to draw individuals into their communities and focuses on persuading them to repudiate violence, rather than trying to try change core beliefs such as support for a caliphate.
The group has learned on the job, including from its mistakes.
In one case, a paroled was provided with $500 to start a T-shirt business. Soon the group discovered the venture had failed, partly because the business didn’t engage the man with regular people.
As for the T-shirts? They were emblazoned with either the face of or an AK-47 and given away within the man’s radical circle.
|2016-05-31 Southeast Asia|
|[AnNahar] Two Philippine soldiers were killed during with Islamic trying to regain their base in a remote, mountainous region of the southern Philippines, the military said on Monday.|
Ten soldiers were also and about 2,000 residents displaced during the with from the Maute group which has pledged allegiance to the group.
The offensive was launched after the moved back into territory that the military secured during deadly in February, they said.
"They came back to their camp and we were not able to prevent it because our troops were deployed to other areas," said Colonel Roseller Murillo, the military chief with responsibility for the area.
Murillo said soldiers had to leave the area to provide security elsewhere for the national elections on May 9.
He said, based on intelligence reports, about 37 were believed to have been killed. But he said no bodies had been recovered and AFP could not independently verify the .
General Gerardo Barrientos, commander of the division overseeing the offensive, said the group was believed to have fewer than 100 fighters, but had been a continued threat in the area even after losing their headquarters in February.
He said the military launched the latest offensive after the bombed power transmission towers, and and beheaded two workers at a local sawmill in April.
The southern Philippines has been plagued by a Muslim separatist insurgency for over four decades, with the conflict leaving more than 120,000 dead.
President Benigno Aquino's outgoing administration secured a peace deal with the largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), but talks collapsed after parliament failed to pass a law that would have created a new Muslim autonomous region. MILF leaders have repeatedly warned that Muslim rebels frustrated at the setback could be lured into more extreme forms of resistance, and that the Islamic State group could establish a stronghold in the south.
The future of peace talks under incoming president Rodrigo Duterte is unclear. He has said he can secure peace by establishing a federal form of government, devolving power to the regions.
Barrientos said the Maute group was believed to have links with the Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, which carried out the 2002 bombings in the Indonesian holiday island of Bali, killing 202 people. Jemaah Islamiyah have had a long presence in the southern Philippines and have trained locals.
|2016-05-20 Southeast Asia|
|[Financial Times] An Islamist militant accused of funding the 2009 Jakarta suicide bombings has been selling advertising space on his website to international corporations including Citigroup, IBM and Microsoft using a service provided by Google.|
Muhammad Jibril Abdul Rahman, known as the Prince of Jihad,
But his jihadi propaganda website, Arrahmah.com, has been making thousands of dollars by hosting advertisements from global companies. The ads were delivered to the website, which includes images of beheadings and hangings, by intermediaries including Google's AdSense, the biggest online ad network, which take a portion of the revenues.
There is no suggestion that the advertisers or Google knowingly funded a designated terrorist, a criminal offence in the US that carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison or a $1m fine.
After being contacted by the Financial Times, Google cancelled Arrahmah.com's account and advertisers asked to be removed from the site. However, ads for major western brands continue to appear on the site through other intermediaries.
Arrahmah.com illustrates the increasing sophistication of Islamist propaganda networks and the expanding range of funding sources they have been able to tap into. Large technology groups including Google, Twitter and Facebook have come in for criticism by security services in recent years for not doing enough to keep extremists off their platforms.
The website, which promotes its views in sections such as "Jihad Zone", attracts about 600,000 visits a month. Arrahmah.com discloses prominently that Abdul Rahman is its chief executive.
In 2010, Rahman was sentenced to five years in an Indonesian prison for concealing information related to the terrorist attacks at two prominent hotels in Jakarta, which killed seven people and wounded around 50.
|2016-05-11 Southeast Asia|
|[Channel News Asia] Convicted terrorist and Daesh advocate Aman Abdurrahman will be charged in June for planning the January 14 terror attack in Jakarta.|
Tito Karnavian, chief of Indonesia's National Counter-Terrorism Agency, said Aman's involvement was clear. He said, "There is no difficulty (in establishing). There are already many witnesses that have been investigated."
Aman was earlier identified as the suspected mastermind in the Jakarta blasts, carried out by four members of a terror network. All four, along with four bystanders were killed in the bombings.
Aman was previously convicted for his role in setting up a Jemaah Islamiyah training camp in Aceh in 2009. The 44-year-old cleric is currently serving eight years in a maximum security prison in Central Java.
Tito said that Aman was supposed to be released from prison in 2018. On the impending charges, Tito said, "There is still time. There is no need to rush."
|2016-05-09 Southeast Asia|
|[Malay Mail] The kindergarten at the center of online fury over photographs showing plastic gun-toting kids in military fatigues has been on the police radar since last year.|
Bukit Aman Special Branch director Datuk Seri Fuzi Harun said, "We have already been investigating the school from last year. If we find enough evidence that suggest such (militant) ideologies are being taught, we will move in on them," after the photographs shared by lawyer Siti Kassim were widely circulated on social media.
Fuzi said police were monitoring kindergartens across Malaysia to ensure they were not being used as training centers for child soldiers.
Checks revealed that several kindergarten teachers, one of whom works in the school implicated in the photographs, had uploaded the images onto Instagram. In her Facebook post, Siti, who is also an activist, alleged that the teachers were from a college in Terengganu, which she claimed was tied to Jemaah Islamiyah.
Apart from the picture of kids carrying toy guns, another photograph in the collection showed children dressed in full headscarves and holding the Palestinian flag.
In January, Fuzi had said that police managed to foil an attempt by Daesh to set up a child terrorist training center. He added that there were cases as far back as 2012, where parents brought their children to child terrorist training centers in Syria and Iraq.
|2016-05-02 Southeast Asia|
|[InterAksyon] Two still unidentified alleged members of a terrorist group that earlier claimed ties with Daesh were killed by an elite Philippine police unit Thursday in a remote village in Maasim, Sarangani Province. Police spokesman Wilben Mayor said the raid was carried out on a suspected hideout of the Ansar Khilafa Philippines (AKP) located in Sitio Bulat. The operation was carried out by a combined security force.|
The AKP, led by a certain Mohammad Jaafar Sabiwang Maguid, alias 'Tokboy,' clashed with the lawmen at around 3 a.m. Thursday. Two of his followers were killed, with no casualties on the government side.
An initial report identified Maguid as the head of AKP in Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat area. He escaped during the encounter.
According to Mayor, Maguid and his men were able to escape from a clash on November 26, 2015, with government troops in Palimbang town in Sultan Kudarat. At least eight suspected AKP members were killed in that battle.
Mayor said the fatalities included a certain Ibrahim Sucipto Ibrahim Ali/Abu/Masud/Abu Muhammad/Huzaifa, an Indonesian National and who was a former leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah in Mindanao.
|2016-04-26 Southeast Asia|
|[Chicago Tribune] A severed head was left Monday on a street in the southern Philippines, authorities said, five hours after a ransom deadline set by Islamist holding Western hostages and others. Canada's prime minister identified the victim as a 68-year-old Canadian.|
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said John Ridsdel of Calgary, Alberta, was killed in a "cold-blooded murder" by the s. Trudeau said Canada would work with the Philippine government and international partners to bring those responsible to justice.
The beheading underscored fears of widening violence by Islamist guerrillas, known as the group, as it forges possible allegiances with the It also raised fears of other execution-style killings among those held. Abu Sayyaf has taken hostages for decades - and killed captives - as part of a rebellion it has claimed to be waging on behalf of the Muslim minority in Asia's only predominantly Roman Catholic nation. The Philippine government has denounced the Abu Sayyaf group as a terrorist organization that also operates more like a criminal gang, engaging in kidnapping for ransom, extortion and drug trafficking, among other crimes.
|2016-04-02 Southeast Asia|
|[BenarNews] The widow of an Indonesian who died in custody after being arrested as a suspected militant wants an autopsy to be done on his remains, but neighbors in her home village are trying to block that. Resistance is so strong in the Central Java village of Pogung, where her late husband is buried, have threatened to expel her or anyone else who supports her plan to exhume his remains in order to determine the cause of death.|
Siyono, the widow's 34-year-old husband and father of five, was buried in a local graveyard, five days after his arrest by Densus 88, the Indonesian police counter-terror unit. Police suspected Siyono of being connected to a resurgent Jemaah Islamiyah.
Siyono's home province of Central Java is where Indonesian authorities recently arrested rebels during a nationwide crackdown that followed the January 14 terrorist attacks in Jakarta. Eight people, including four insurgents, died in the attacks – the first act of terrorism claimed by Daesh in Southeast Asia.
|2016-03-19 Southeast Asia|
|[Business Times] The threat of a terrorist attack in Singapore is at its "highest level" of late as a result of the rise of the Daesh militant group, Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam warned on Friday. He said the danger is even greater than in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in the US and the arrest of Jemaah Islamiyah members here that year, and added that it was not a question of if, but when, an attack will take place.|
Speaking to Home Team officers at an annual closed-door forum, he outlined a number of new initiatives to counter the terror threat, including the launching of a new national movement called SG Secure.
Shanmugam warned that the rise of Daesh has meant the threat has "increased significantly" to the point that it has morphed into a "large powerful monster".
"It is now a qualitatively different (and) much more dangerous threat. ISIS presents a far graver threat than (Al-Qaeda) or its affiliated entities ever did," he told his audience.
Shanmugam spoke of Daesh's intention to establish a caliphate in the region. As he mapped out a grim picture of the terror situation in Southeast Asia, he called Singapore a "prime target", with four possible types of threats: Attacks planned just outside Singapore, attacks involving weapons smuggled by Singaporeans or foreign militants, so-called "lone wolf" attacks by self-radicalized people, as well as those by foreign workers in Singapore who have become radicalized.
|2016-03-14 Southeast Asia|
|[AFP] Indonesia does not want one of its most notorious terrorists, Hambali, returned home should the United States close Guantanamo Bay detention center, according to a senior minister.|
Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, was captured in Thailand in 2003 and spent the next three years being flown between secret prisons until his transfer to Gitmo. At the time of his capture Hambali, was thought to be Al-Qaeda's top operative in Southeast Asia and head of regional militant group Jemaah Islamiyah.
He was accused of masterminding the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, and plotting other attacks on U.S. airliners and foreigners.
Indonesian security minister Luhut Panjaitan said, "It's very clear that we do not want to add any more problems in our country," when asked about Hambali.
Panjaitan said an urgent revision of Indonesia's anti-terrorism laws is needed as authorities are currently powerless to stop would-be militants heading abroad to fight with extremist groups.
The government has submitted to parliament new draft measures to bolster Indonesia's fight against extremism, including broader powers to detain suspects. Panjaitan said, "This new terrorism law stipulates the state is authorised to revoke their citizenship if they join foreign fighters."
|2016-03-12 Southeast Asia|
|[AnNahar] Indonesia does not want one of the country's most notorious terrorists, Hambali, returned home should the United States close the controversial Guantanamo Bay detention center, a senior minister said Friday.|
Riduan Isamuddin was captured in Thailand in 2003 and spent the next three years being flown between secret prisons until his transfer to Guantanamo, where he has been held without charge ever since.
At the time of his capture Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, was believed to be al-Qaeda's top representative in Southeast Asia and operational chief of regional group Jemaah Islamiyah.
He was accused of ing the 2002 Bali bombings that left 202 people dead, and plotting other attacks on U.S. airliners and foreigners.
Hambali is one of 91 inmates still detained in the military prison, set up after the September 11, 2001 attacks to deal with prisoners deemed "enemy combatants", and denied many U.S. legal rights.
A roadmap to closing Guantanamo unveiled by last month prompted speculation in Indonesia that Hambali could be repatriated, but Jakarta has made it clear it does want anything to do with the alleged terror kingpin.
"It's very clear that we do not want to add any more problems in our country," security minister Luhut Panjaitan told s when asked about Hambali.
A sustained crackdown in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, weakened many of the most dangerous networks responsible for a string of deadly homegrown attacks during the 2000s.
But an attack in Jakarta earlier this year claimed by the group sparked fears of a resurgence in militancy, and shone the spotlight on the country's weak laws and lax jails where prominent have been recruiting behind bars.
Panjaitan said an urgent revision of Indonesia's anti-terror laws was needed as authorities were currently powerless to stop would-be heading abroad to fight with groups.
The government has submitted to parliament new draft measures to bolster Indonesia's fight against extremism, including broader powers to detain suspects
"This new terrorism law stipulates the state is authorized to revoke their citizenship if they join ," he said.
|2016-03-11 Southeast Asia|
|[AA.TR] Three foreigners suspected of being kidnapped by a -linked group in the Philippines south nearly six months ago have pleaded for their lives in footage uploaded to the Internet.|
A video on the Facebook page of an "Abu Muhammad" on Thursday showed Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad shirtless and surrounded by .
Hall identifies their captors as the The three thin, bearded and handcuffed men appeal to their governments for help securing their release, saying that if their kidnapper's demands are not met they will be killed.
"To the Canadian prime minister and to the Canadian people in the world, please do as needed to meet their demands within one month or they will kill me, they will execute us," Ridsel -- a Canadian mining consultant -- pleads as a long haired man holds what appears to be a machete to his neck.
The video is the second to surface since the trio were kidnapped from a resort on Samal Island in Davao del Norte in September with Filipina Marites Flor.
In the first video, the kidnappers demanded P1 billion pesos ($21,500) for each of the three foreigners.
"The Canadian government has got to get us out of here fast," Sekkingstad adds in Thursday's video, saying that they are being held hostage on Sulu Island -- an Abu Sayyaf stronghold in the country’s south.
"This is the last message to families, friends and authorities... follow the negotiations and try to meet their demands or we're all dead," he adds.
Asked by Anadolu Agency to comment on the latest video, Brig-Gen. Restituto Padilla, Sulu Joint Task Force commander, declined saying he was still to see it full.
The Philippines government has repeatedly maintained a no negotiation or ransom policy with such groups.
The Abu Sayyaf -- which has reportedly pledged allegiance to -- is also holding a Dutch man kidnapped more than three years ago in Tawi-Tawi and a former Italian priest seized last year in Zamboanga del Norte.
Since 1991, the group -- armed with mostly improvised s, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, s and extortions in a self-determined fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines.
It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.
|2016-02-28 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] Philippine security forces have killed dozens of Muslim militants and captured at least two camps in a nearly month-long offensive against insurgents in Mindanao.|
Army spokesman Filemon Tan said that 42 militants from a group with ties to the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah were killed in clashes that began last Saturday. One of the rebe; bastions in Butig town in Lanao del Sur province fell on Thursday. Three soldiers were killed and 11 injured.
Last Saturday evening, about 80 militants led by brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute, said to be former associates of an Indonesian JI operative known only as Sanusi, who was killed in 2012, attacked a detachment of the 51st Infantry Battalion in Butig. Troops drove the rebels back, and the army counter-attacked with howitzers, bombers, helicopters and armored vehicles.
The Lanao del Sur clashes broke out just as the army was wrapping up a 24-day offensive against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in neighboring Maguindanao province. A BIFF camp in Datu Salibo town fell on Sunday after intense battles that began on February 5.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ambrosio Rustia, head of the Army 57th Infantry Battalion, said hundreds of BIFF militants who held the camp had fled with their casualties deep into marshlands bordering Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces. The army reported that it lost three soldiers, one during operations to clear the BIFF camp of landmines.
|2016-01-31 Southeast Asia|
|[Inquirer] The $5 million price tag for the capture, dead or alive, of Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, has caught the attention of experts in the aftermath of a tragic police operation to take him down in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, a year ago.|
How the bounty affected the overall conduct of the operation is not clear. However, a Jakarta-based think-tank has urged a rethinking of the role of rewards in the war on terror. As with other terrorists, the bounty for Marwan's capture was put up by the U.S. Rewards for Justice program. The program is credited for aiding in the downfall of key Abu Sayyaf leaders. As of 2012, intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting said, more than $11 million in bounties had been paid out in the Philippines by the program.
The program's website listed as part of its success stories the capture of key Abu Sayyaf figures: Toting Craft Hanno, Khadaffy Janjalani (deceased), and Abu Solaiman and Hamsiraji Marusi Sali. It paid $100,000 for Hanno, $5 million for Janjalani, $5 million for Solaiman, and $1 million for Sali.
In a report, the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, said,"The huge bounties placed on the heads of foreign jihadis have helped to burnish their reputations as world-class terrorists, perhaps out of proportion to their actual roles. They encourage killing high-value targets rather than making any effort to arrest them alive."
In 2008, a Brussels-based think-tank warned about the distorting effect of monetary rewards in the drive against terrorists in the Philippines. In its report, the International Crisis Group noted that military informants "equate amount of bounty with the importance of the individual concerned."
It cited the case of Jemaah Islamiyah operatives Umar Patek and Dulmatin. Dulmatin, who reports to Umar Patek, commanded $10 million in reward for his capture while his boss only fetched $1 million.
The Rewards for Justice program now lists four terrorists in East Asia and the Pacific region whose capture merits its bounty. They are Isnilon Hapilon of Abu Sayyaf, up to $5 million; Radullan Sahiron of Abu Sayyaf, up to $1 million; and Indonesian Jemaah Islamiyah operative Aris Sumarsono alias Zulkarnaen or Daud, up to $5 million. Abdul Basit Usman of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, who was killed last year, is still on the list, with a reward of up to $1 million.
|2016-01-26 Southeast Asia|
|[Rakyat Post] The Royal Malaysian Police have foiled six terrorist plots since last December. |
Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said police uncovered the plots in a series of counter-terror operations. Following some arrests since last December, it was discovered that several terrorists in the country had begun collecting chemical substances which could be made into bombs, he told reporters after attending the International Conference on Deradicalization and Countering Violent Extremism today.
When asked about the video threat by the Daesh titled "Public Message for Malaysia", Ayob said the two men in the video had been confirmed to be Malaysian citizens who were now in Syria. He said that the individuals, known as Abdul Halid and Mohd Nizam, warned authorities against making more arrests and to release Daesh detainees.
According to reports, the Malaysian-Indonesian faction of Daesh, called Katibah Nusantara, exclaimed, "We will never bow down to the democratic system of governance as we will only follow Allah’s rules."
Ayob said this was the first time such a video had been released in Malay, featuring the Daesh logo, and this was evidence that the regional militants had joined forces and had direct links with Daesh. He said, "There is definitely a link, in fact the eight people we arrested earlier had links with our people there (in Syria)… and links with Bahrum Naim (founder of the Katibah Nusantara). There is a link. This is not a new thing. Since the Jemaah Islamiyah, there were links between regional and global (groups), which could be said to be organized. This is their way of expanding their network."
|2016-01-18 Southeast Asia|
|[Reuters] Last week’s attack on Jakarta showed for the first time that Daesh violence has arrived in Indonesia, but experts believe the group’s footprint still has limited influence here because militants are competing to be its regional leader.|
Police have identified Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian based in Syria, as the mastermind of the attacks that left all five attackers and two civilians dead on Thursday. But perhaps the region's most influential jihadi is a jailed cleric, Aman Abdurrahman, who with just a few couriers and a cell phone is able to command around 200 followers from prison.
Abdurrahman sits at the head of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, an umbrella organization formed last year that experts believe could become the unifying force for Daesh supporters.
Police believe that Naim, an Abdurrahman supporter, was trying to prove his leadership skills to Daesh leaders in Syria by plotting the Jakarta attack. Jakarta police chief Tito Karnavian said Naim's vision was to unite now-splintered groups across Southeast Asia that support Daesh.
Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah was the last transnational group to successfully launch large-scale attacks in the region, including the 2002 Bali bombings. JI, founded by Indonesian and Malaysian militants who returned from battling the Soviet Union in the the 1980s and early 1990s, has largely fallen apart due to internal rivalries and a sustained crackdown by security forces. Regional governments fear that Malay-speaking militants returning from Syria and Iraq could form a similar regional organization.
In Malaysia, former university lecturer Mahmud Ahmad is thought to be behind recent attempts to unite militant groups, including the Abu Sayyaf, from three Southeast Asian countries.
Abdurrahman remains perhaps the weightiest contender for Daesh leadership in the region. While serving a 9-year prison term for funding a militant training camp in Indonesia, he has managed to encourage hundreds of Indonesians to join the jihad in Syria and Iraq.
Prison authorities have tried repeatedly to silence Abdurrahman. According to the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, ten phones were seized from his cell in September 2014, but just a month later he got hold of a new phone and his sermons to followers resumed.
|[DAWN] THE complexity of the challenge confronting the Muslim world where dealing with religiously inspired militancy is concerned has been aptly demonstrated by a series of recent events. The latest crisis emerged in Jakarta, where elements linked to the group went on the rampage on Thursday. A news outlet connected to the group for the carnage, while Indonesian police also said they believed IS was behind the attacks. on Wednesday, IS for the attack on the Pak consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, while Turkish authorities said the individual responsible for the Istanbul bombing on Tuesday was an operative of the group. These events show that nearly all Muslim states -- despite geographic, cultural and political differences -- are vulnerable to violent religious extremism.|
It would be incorrect to assume that a monolithic IS is planning attacks in Muslim countries -- and elsewhere -- based in Syria. what is entirely possible is that the so-called caliphate is inspiring fringe groups and individuals across the globe to act in its name, or in support of its cause. For example, in Indonesia IS doesn't actually need a physical presence; groups such as and Jemaah Islamiyah are ideologically on the same wavelength. Pakistain faces the same predicament: Al Baghdadi and his men do not need to be physically present to forward their agenda. There is a plethora of and sectarian groups that are arguably still active and more than willing to carry the IS banner in Pakistain. The same can be said of nearly any Muslim country, where a variety of factors have led to the growth of home-grown radical movements.
Unfortunately, some Muslim states have either looked away as groups grew in size and strength in their backyards, while others have even used these as proxies in geopolitical conflicts. It is also true that most Muslim states -- both authoritarian set-ups and democracies -- have failed to deliver social, economic and political justice to their citizens, helping fuel the rise of radical movements, which want to destroy the 'system' and build it anew in their own image. In the immediate term, the Muslim bloc should realise that the war against extremism and terrorism is 'our' war. Firstly, there must be realisation within Muslim states that the tide has to be confronted, without differentiation between 'good' and 'bad' s. Secondly, a pan-Islamic effort is needed to clamp down on militancy, which can be achieved through joint counterterrorism efforts. any alliance built along sectarian or geopolitical lines is doomed to fail. Moreover, Western involvement in such an endeavour should be avoided for two reasons: to prevent from portraying it as a 'war against Islam', and the fact that much of contemporary Islamist militancy has been fuelled by Western intervention and regime change in Muslim states.
|2016-01-14 Southeast Asia|
|[IBT-UK] The jailed spiritual leader of al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah has said that his sentence should be overturned because the funds he raised for a military-style training camp was an 'act of worship'. Caged cleric Abu Bakar Bashir appealed to have his conviction for funding a terrorist camp overturned because it was Allah's order.|
During the hearing he argued that his aid for the camp was an 'act of worship' despite the militant network being accused of planning attacks on foreigners in Jakarta, and the assassinations of moderate leaders, including former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Jemaah Islamiyah were also blamed for the savage 2002 Bali bombings which claimed the lives of 202 people.
In 2011 Bashir was convicted of funding the militant training camp in Aceh province and jailed for 15 years. But a higher court later cut the sentence to nine years.
At the District Court in Cilacap, near the prison island of Nusakembangan where he is currently incarcerated, Bashir said that the camp was designed to defend Muslims. He said, "The physical and weapons' training in Aceh were aimed at defending Islam and Muslims in Indonesia and overseas, and were an obligation Muslims must fulfill because it is God's order. My deed of helping the physical training in Aceh was merely an act of worship."
A lawyer representing the cleric said that he knew the camp violated firearms laws but he was simply following Allah's orders in supporting it. He added that the funds were also for religious use.
Outside the court hundreds of supporters waited for a heavily-guarded Bashir to arrive. They yelled "Allah Akbar," "Bashir is not a terrorist" and "Free Bashir."
|2016-01-12 Southeast Asia|
|[CHANNELNEWSASIA] Terrorist convict will appear in court Tuesday (Jan 12) for a judicial review to get an early release from his 15-year prison sentence.|
The trial was moved to Cilacap, central Java, from its original location at the South Jakarta district court after judges approved a request from Bashir's team of attorneys to have it at a more convenient location, because of his age and frail health.
The 77-year-old , who publicly pledged allegiance to the group in 2014, is being held at the Nusakambangan prison island in Cilacap regency.
Bashir, known as the spiritual leader of organization, Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, is serving 15 years in prison.
In 2011, he was found guilty of funding military training of a terrorist group in Aceh.
He appealed to the Jakarta High Court, which reduced his sentence to nine years.
But, the Supreme Court overruled that decision and changed the sentence back to 15 year before Bashir asked for a judicial review.
In Tuesday's judicial review, Bashir will be represented by a team of ten attorneys, who will be presenting five new witnesses in the trial, three of whom are also serving time in the Nusakambangan prison.
Many of the hardline 's supporters are expected to attend the trial which is open to the public.
Bashir's attorneys have urged them to exercise restraint and not cause any security problems.
"They have already agreed on that, and they already promised us they will only come and give mental support but for the security institution, please be careful, and be alert for provocateurs who might provoke the situation," said lawyer Mahendradatta.
The judicial review is expected to stretch over three to four sessions, which could last for several weeks.
|2016-01-07 Southeast Asia|
|[Manila Times] The Philippine Army's 73rd Infantry Battalion based in Davao del Sur has begun pursuit operations to track down Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, the alleged leader of Ansar al-Khilafah (Supporters of the Caliphate) in the Philippines (AKP). He is believed to be in the hinterlands of Sarangani Province.|
Colonel Ronnie Babac is leading the operation against Maguid and his close associate, identified as Limbo Jusin Pala. The two are top on the list of high-profile members of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) under its fallen leader Abdul Basit Usman. Maguid was tasked to continue the role of Usman and Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as "Marwan."
Maguid, alias Tokboy, who escaped from a four-hour firefight with security forces in the town of Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat on November 23, was reportedly on a mission to create large-scale violence in Central Mindanao.
The AKP has claimed affiliation with Daesh, whose presence in Mindanao was confirmed by a ranking military intelligence officer. Another source from Maguindanao said that Maguid directly trained under two Indonesian nationals who arrived in Mindanao three years ago. The Indonesians are reportedly training Daesh recruits organized by Maguid in undisclosed areas near the MILF camp. Their recruits are thought to be disgruntled MILF commanders who now strongly support Daesh in the region.
Maguid and Pala were also tagged as former cell leaders of the 3rd Battalion, Headquarters Brigade of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters’ (BIFF) inner defense group led by its regional field commander Ustadz Haun Salindatu.
Maguid, charged for attacks on the town center of Maasim, Sarangani in August 2008 that killed three people, was arrested in July 2009 but managed to escape from the Sarangani provincial jail in March 2010. Maguid is also facing a series of other charges including for a grenade attack in Maasim Town in June 2009; the murder of Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao's cousin Rogelio Pacquiao in July 2009; the killing of Maasim Vice Mayor Sawab Pangolima last October; and several other incidents.
|2015-12-29 Southeast Asia|
|[TIME] Indonesian antiterror authorities say they have broken up a plot to attack officials, churches and other targets across Indonesia. A suspected terrorist from China’s remote northwest was arrested last week in Indonesia after the nation's antiterror squad raided a house in Bekasi, on the outskirts of Jakarta.|
During the December 24 raid, the police also seized an explosive device in a car and a model of a government building at the house, along with bomb-making materials. It is believed that the suspect, s Uighur man named Alli, was being trained to carry out a suicide bombing.
Police chief Badrodin Haiti said, "He’s a Uighur who was learning Indonesian, and he was a [suicide bomber] in training."
Alli is the 11th terrorist suspect arrested by the antiterror squad after a series of raids in cities across Java days before Christmas. According to the police, the crackdown, which started on Dec. 18 and was based on tips from the FBI and the Australian Federal Police, foiled a plot to attack several cities on the main islands of Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan. Among the targets were senior police officers, high-ranking officials, Christian churches and Shi'ite mosques.
Alli, along with six of the terror suspects arrested days earlier, is allegedly part of a Daesh-affiliated terror ring linked to Bahrun Naim — an Indonesian convict who has gone to Syria to fight with Daesh. The remaining four belong to Jemaah Islamiyah, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda.
|2015-12-26 Southeast Asia|
|[NDTV] Indonesian police said today they have two men, including a member of China's Uighur minority, allegedly involved in a planned New Year in Jakarta.|
Police arrested an Indonesian, named as Arif Hodayatullah, near the capital for driving a car without a licence plate and found several books about bomb-making inside the vehicle, according to a document seen by AFP.
An anti-terror squad raided his house in West Java, where they arrested a Uighur, identified only as Alli, and confiscated a and material to assemble a bomb.
"We also found a design (of where the attack would be carried out), but we have only found one, we need to investigate more," national police Anton Charliyan said late Thursday.
The arrests come at a time of heightened alert after police arrested several other suspected s.
On Monday police in Java arrested five suspects from a cell linked to the ISIS, and four from one linked to the Jemaah Islamiyah terror network, responsible for several major attacks in Indonesia.
The country is deploying more than 150,000 military and police personnel during the Christmas and New Year period and has increased security at its airports after a threat was directed at one serving Jakarta.
A police source, who declined to be named, said Alli was believed to be a bombmaker and was chosen to carry out the suicide attack.
Hodayatullah told police he was instructed by a man named Bahrunnaim, a residing in Syria, to help Indonesians wishing to join the ISIS group.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, suffered several major s by Islamic between 2000 and 2009, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.
But a crackdown has weakened the most dangerous networks.
However the emergence of ISIS has sparked alarm that Indonesians returning from battlefields in the Middle East could revive them.
|2015-12-24 Southeast Asia|
|[KSL] Indonesian police said Monday they have foiled a plot to kill government officials, law enforcement officers and others by suspected Muslim over the weekend.|
Security was raised at airports, the presidential palace, foreign embassies and shopping malls, and the government said it will deploy more than 150,000 personnel to safeguard public places and churches across the country.
Information from the U.S., Australia and Singapore helped Indonesian police discover that the attacks were planned for the year-end holiday season, national police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti said.
"This is the result of sharing intelligence to combat international evil," Haiti said. "There is a possibility of other groups, and we will continue to pursue them."
Anti-terror police arrested nine men over the weekend in five cities on Indonesia's main island of Java.
Those arrested included Zaenal, who is thought to have planned to be a in one of the attacks, and Asep Urip, a teacher at an Islamic boarding school who allegedly received funds from Indonesian who are joining the group in Syria, national police Maj. Gen. Anton Charlian said at a separate news conference.
Their interrogation led police to arrest several other suspects who had been sought since a raid on their bomb-making factory in Klaten town last year, he said.
They have expertise in shooting and bomb-making because of their membership in Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaeda-linked Southeast Asian group blamed for the deadly 2002 nightclub bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, Charlian said.
"This group has collaborated with those who returned from war in Syria," he said. "They want to perform a 'concert' to attract international news coverage of their existence here."
He cited a document seized from the group that described the planned attacks as a "concert."
Charlian said police have identified about 240 people who have returned home out of at least 800 Indonesians who have traveled to the Middle East to join IS.
|2015-12-22 Southeast Asia|
|[AnNahar] Indonesian police said Monday they were on their highest terror alert after foiling plans for a in Jakarta and arresting linked to the group.|
Three-day raids across Java ending Sunday saw the confiscation of s, an IS-inspired flag and nine arrests.
Several of the men were allegedly linked to a planned in Jakarta during the New Year celebrations, according to documents seized in the raids.
A total of five suspects were arrested from a cell linked to the Islamic State, and four more from a cell linked to the Jemaah Islamiyah terror network behind several major assaults in Indonesia.
The were targeting shopping malls, s and minority groups across the country, the national police chief said.
According to documents seized in the raids, police claim the two cells were identifying attack sites in Jakarta as well as West Java, Sumatra and Indonesian Borneo.
"We are taking preventive actions. We are implementing the highest alert," said police chief Badrodin Haiti.
"There are several things that (these groups) can do, like bombing or other violent acts such as shootings, burning, or unarmed attacks," he added.
Other security officials said nearly 150,000 police and military officers would be dispatched to guard important sites between December 24 and January 2, when police would be extra vigilant.
Haiti confirmed that the Australian Federal Police, the FBI and Singaporean authorities had assisted with uncovering the alleged terror plots.
The increased security comes as senior ministers from Australia and Indonesia agreed to boost intelligence sharing, including on terrorism financing, following bilateral talks in both Sydney and Jakarta.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, suffered several major s by Islamic between 2000 and 2009, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.
But a crackdown has weakened the most dangerous networks.
However the emergence of IS has sparked alarm that Indonesians returning from battlefields in the Middle East could revive them.
Indonesian police in August arrested three people with links to the IS group who were planning to launch s during celebrations to mark the country's independence.
|2015-08-29 Southeast Asia|
|[ALMANAR.LB] Three were killed after the Philippine military on Friday launched a second attempt in two weeks to rescue hostages held by the terrorist group, the army said.|
About 300 Abu Sayyaf retreated after the hour-long firefight in the jungles of the remote southern island of Jolo, said Brigadier-General Alan Arrojado, the military commander in the area.
However the military did not say if any of the hostages were freed or injured in the , or how many hostage were believed to have been held at the s' camp.
Ten Philippine soldiers were in the fighting, Arrojado added.
Last week two Philippine men, who were among 11 hostages held by Abu Sayyaf, escaped during fierce which erupted after elite military forces launched a risky rescue operation, leaving 15 Abu Sayyaf men dead on Jolo.
The military rescue attempt came after the decapitated remains of a 12th hostage, Rodolfo Boligao, were found on a deserted Jolo highway.
Impoverished Jolo is a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, a loose band of several hundred set up in the 1990s with seed money from the Al-Qaeda terrorist network of The group engages in kidnappings to finance operations, often targeting foreigners and sometimes beheading captives if ransoms are not paid.
|2015-06-22 Southeast Asia|
|[Gulf Today] The US has retained the Abu Sayyaf as well as the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's Army in its list of foreign terror organisations operating in the Philippines.|
The US State Department also said that while the Jemaah Islamiyah were based in Indonesia, it was also included in the group of foreign terror organisations because its influence has spread to the Philippines with membership estimated at between 400 and 1,000 militants.
|2015-06-02 Terror Networks|
|[RUDAW.NET] Kurdish authorities in Dohuk say at least 4,500 Kurdish Yezidis are still being held by in Iraq and Syria despite rescue efforts that have so far secured the release of nearly 1,700 Yezidi captives.|
Rudaw met with two Yezidi sisters who escaped ISIS captivity in eastern Syria in early May following an operation by US Special Forces that led to the killing of a key ISIS commander known as . At the time of the raid, the sisters were being held in a nearby home of another ISIS fighter.
The two sisters, 26 and 24, are now living at the Shariya Camp outside Duhok in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. They told Rudaw a harrowing story about their time in ISIS captivity.
"We were forced into buses, all of us, maybe 300 to 500 of us, women and much younger girls," said the 26-year-old about the day they were in Shingal in August 2014. Both women requested anonymity.
She said many of the Yezidi women were also sold into slavery to Arab sheikhs and tribal leaders in the area, and some of the women were as young as 15.
"We were moving all the time. They did not speak to us and when they did, they talked in an abusive language," the younger sister remembered, her eyes filling with tears.
"It was terrible in Homs," she said, referring to ISIS' de-facto capital. "We were given little food and water and were told to convert to Islam or they would kill us."
The Office of Yezidi Affairs in Dohuk, a government organization that releases daily figures and data about Yezidi captives, told Rudaw earlier it so far verified the deaths of 1,280 Yezidis who while in ISIS captivity.
"We have to have this point highlighted: 10 mass graves have been found since last summer with Yezidis shot at close range," Hussein Koro, the head of the office, told Rudaw.
The two sisters were being held near the house of Abu Sayyaf, a senior ISIS leader who had a leading role in overseeing ISIS oil and gas operations. A US Army said he was killed in a firefight after he resisted capture.
"When the began, they hit close to where we were staying in the house, but we were unharmed," the older sister said. "Many of the were killed that night. They were from all over the world."
An ISIS , she said, then moved the two sisters to Raqqa.
Ransoms have been paid to secure the release of many Yezidi captives, according to Koro.
After their release, the two sisters then crossed the border into and arrived in Dohuk several days later.
They said many of their relatives are still in captivity in Syria, enduring appalling conditions.
"No one knows the right number of those in captivity, but I would say thousands are still there," said the eldest sister.
|2015-05-06 Southeast Asia|
Abdul Basit Usman was killed in a remote mountainous area while being escorted by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the nation's biggest rebel group, its vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar said.
"We can confirm that Usman is dead and his body was buried in accordance with Muslim tradition," Jaafar told Agence France Presse, but he refused to say who killed him.
Jaafar said Usman was killed as MILF rebels were escorting him to the group's leaders to surrender, adding that he probably did not know he was being taken back to the MILF leaders.
"There was a firefight along the way. Usman could have sensed that he was being double-crossed," Jaafar said.
However he refused to give any more details as to who killed Usman, saying only that the circumstances of the firefight were under investigation.
Military chief General Gregorio Catapang said Usman had been killed, but that it remained unclear as to who killed him.
"Basit Usman is dead, as to the circumstances of what happened during that encounter, it's up to (the investigation)," Catapang told reporters.
The military said five of Usman's followers had also died in the battle, and that some of his own men may have double crossed him.
The U.S. State Department's website describes Usman as "a bomb-making expert with links to the Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf Group terrorist organisations" leading him to be considered a threat to American and Filipino citizens and interests..
|2015-05-04 Southeast Asia|
|[Reuters] The Philippines' most wanted terrorist, who escaped after a raid last January that killed 44 elite police commandos, was killed on Sunday in gun battle with Moro militants.|
Presidential communications secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma said in a statement, "(Abdul) Basit Usman was killed in a firefight in Guindulungan, Maguindanao at around noon today. Usman was the second target of the operations conducted by the PNP-SAF to capture Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan last January 25."
The two terrorists were blamed for a series of bombings in the southern Philippines. Both had links with the defunct Jemaah Islamiyah and carried a combined $6 million bounty from the U.S. State Department.
Coloma gave no other details of the firefight, but security officials said Usman and five others were killed near a creek in Muti village.
|2015-05-01 Southeast Asia|
|[AnNahar] Six men, including an Indonesian suspected to be an arms expert, were charged on Thursday for allegedly conspiring to plot terror attacks in Malaysia.|
The men, aged between 25 and 48, were charged with being "party to a conspiracy to promote terror in Malaysia", according to court documents obtained by AFP.
"They were handcuffed and brought to court under heavy security," lawyer Shariff Mat told AFP after the men, who include five Malaysians, appeared at a sessions court in the northern state of Kedah.
Shariff said no plea was recorded and they were expected to appear in court on May 31, with the case to be transferred to the high court.
The six included the group's alleged 48-year-old Murad Halimmuddin Hassan and his 25-year-old son Abu Daud.
The Indonesian, Ali Saifuddin, is alleged to be an arms expert formerly with the Southeast Asian group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
They were among a group of 17 detained in early April for a suspected plot to kidnap high-profile figures and launch terrorist attacks.
National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar had previously said the plotters were believed to have been inspired by the (IS) group and its bloody jihad in Syria and Iraq.
The group was said to have been planning attacks in the capital Kuala Lumpur and in nearby Putrajaya, which houses Malaysia's federal government apparatus.
They had also been planning to rob banks to raise funds, and raid armed forces installations and s to obtain weapons, according to Khalid.
In February, Home Minister Zahid Hamidi warned that IS members in Malaysia had planned to kidnap tycoons and rob banks to finance terrorist activities.
Just last weekend, officials 12 suspected Islamic who were plotting attacks in the country just as it was preparing to host a prominent Southeast Asian summit with regional leaders and ministers.
According to officials, so far about a hundred people have been arrested for suspected involvement in the IS jihad in Syria.
|2015-04-08 Southeast Asia|
|[AnNahar] Malaysia's national police chief said Tuesday that 17 people detained over the weekend in a suspected Islamic plot had planned to kidnap high-profile figures and launch terrorist attacks.|
Khalid Abu Bakar said the plotters on Sunday were believed to have been inspired by the (IS) group and its bloody jihad in Syria and Iraq.
He said they also planned to rob banks to raise funds, and to raid armed forces' installations and s to obtain weapons.
Those arrested included a 49-year-old senior Islamic State group member, who had undergone military training in Afghanistan in 1989 and in Indonesia in 2000, Khalid said.
"Seventeen people between the ages of 14 to 49 were arrested while they were to plan terror attacks in the (Kuala Lumpur area)," he said in a statement.
"The aim of this new terror group was to form an IS-like Islamic state in Malaysia.
"Their plan included the kidnapping of high-profile people."
Khalid did not provide details on whom the group was targeting, but in February, Zahid Hamidi, home minister in charge of internal security, warned that IS members in Malaysia had planned to kidnap tycoons and rob banks to finance terrorist activities.
The attacks were supposed to be carried out in the capital Kuala Lumpur and in nearby Putrajaya, the location of Malaysia's federal government apparatus.
But their campaign was thwarted after police raids in the capital and in the northern state of Kedah, said Khalid, who had announced the arrests on Monday without giving details.
Others arrested included a 38-year-old religious teacher who had visited Syria last year, two Malaysian military personnel, and an Indonesian arms expert formerly with the Southeast Asian group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
The latest arrests bring to 92 the total of people detained for suspected involvement in the IS jihad in Syria, Khalid added.
Malaysia's parliament on Tuesday passed a tough anti-terrorism law to counter the perceived IS threat, which allows authorities to detain terrorism suspects without charge virtually indefinitely, according to its critics.
The law's passage was denounced by the political opposition and rights groups as a blow for civil rights.
Police had said in January they had arrested a total of 120 people with suspected Islamic State links or sympathies, or who had sought to travel to Syria or Iraq, and that 67 Malaysians were known at the time to have gone abroad to join IS jihadists.
|2015-04-02 Southeast Asia|
|[Ynet] The US Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Wednesday it has confirmed that Zulkifli bin Hir, one of its "most wanted terrorists," was killed in a raid in the Philippines in January. The US State Department had offered $5 million for the arrest of bin Hir, a Malaysian member of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah group behind numerous bombing attacks in the Philippines.|
Investigators said they had a difficult time confirming bin Hir's death because he was killed in a gruesome raid that went awry and left 44 police commandos dead.
|2015-03-31 Southeast Asia|
|[ARABNEWS] A monthlong Philippine offensive against hard-line rebels ended Monday after 139 insurgents were killed, 12 others were captured and bomb-making strongholds were seized by troops, the military chief said.|
Ten soldiers were killed and 30 others were wounded in the ground and air strikes in the marshy boundary of Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces in the southern Philippines. The clashes displaced 120,000 villagers at the height of fighting, and about 30,000 have returned home as the clashes eased, Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang told a news conference.
In a final gunbattle Sunday, four soldiers and 16 insurgents were killed, including a rebel commander, the military said.
Government forces launched the assaults Feb. 25 against the BIFM after its fighters attacked villages and were implicated in the killings in January of 44 police anti-terror commandos in the outskirts of Maguindanao’s Mamasapano town.
“After the relentless operations against the (rebels), we have achieved our objectives, including the neutralization of more than 50 percent of their ranks, the capture of their bomb factories and the seizure of their enclaves or safe havens,” Catapang said.
The military’s account could not be independently verified. Catapang cited intelligence and accounts from troops and villagers for the rebel death toll.
Catapang said a smaller number of troops would continue to hunt the rest of the rebels, specifically Abdul Basit Usman, alleged to be a bomb maker and trainer with links to the Indonesian-based Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network and a suspect in several deadly bomb attacks in the south.
Washington has offered a $1 million award for Usman’s capture and prosecution.
The huge police casualties in Mamasapano — the government’s biggest single-day combat loss in recent memory — sparked public outrage and calls for retaliatory strikes against the insurgents. The deaths also stalled a peace deal the government signed last year with the largestrebel group in the south, the MILF, some fighters of which became entangled in the clashes that killed the commandos.
After the offensive, government troops will help construct roads, bridges, schools and hospitals in the area of fighting — far-flung communities where poverty, landlessness and neglect have fostered the decades-long rebellion in the south of the nation.
|2015-03-03 Southeast Asia|
|[ARABNEWS] The Philippine military is trying to capture a bombmaker it believes is being "coddled" by Filipino who have pledged loyalty to , authorities said Sunday.|
The capture of Abdel Basit Usman is one of the objectives of a major army offensive on the southern island of Mindanao, said local military commander Major General Edmundo Pangilinan.
The US government has Usman on its most-wanted list with a one million dollar bounty on his head. Washington and Manila say he has links to Jemaah Islamiyah and , two groups of Southeast Asian s.
Pangilinan said the military believes Usman is being sheltered by the (BIFF), which has vowed support to the Islamic State jihadist group that controls swathes of Iraq and Syria.
"Basit Usman is still believed to be in the area. We believe the BIFF, this armed, lawless group, are the ones coddling and protecting him. We are still pursuing him," he told AFP.
"Field reports indicated that three (Filipino ) lieutenants of Basit Usman were killed in the assault," a military statement said.
"More troops were sent in to scour the hiding places of Usman," it added. Military officials declined to specify how many soldiers were involved.
More than 10,000 residents have fled since the fighting began last week between the army and the BIFF in the province of Maguindanao on Mindanao, a government said, adding that Manila was providing aid to them.Pangilinan said the military was also confirming reports of four Indonesians and an Arab who may be with Usman and the BIFF.
"Airstrikes and artillery fire were delivered (on Saturday) after information of the location of the targets were identified," a military statement said, without specifying if anyone was hit.
Usman was one of the targets of a botched police commando operation in the same area on January 25.
Forty-four commandoes were killed in the raid, triggering a wave of outrage which has shaken the administration of President Benigno Aquino.
Usman was not captured. But initial DNA tests from another body indicated the raid may have succeeded in killing another target, Zulkifli bin Hir.
|2015-03-02 Southeast Asia|
|[Business World] A military assault on Islamist militants in the southern Philippines entered its fifth day on Saturday, with the toll rising to 24 guerrillas and two soldiers dead.|
Ten Abu Sayyaf rebels were killed in a two-hour battle on Friday after the army struck their jungle lair on Jolo island with artillery and helicopter gunships. Another 14 rebels and two troops had been killed since the fighting erupted on Tuesday, said Col. Alan Arrojado, who is leading the assault.
Battles have been raging in the mountainous and thickly forested villages of Patikul town. The militants were reportedly moving with three Malaysian Jemaah Islamiyah members who were providing them with bomb-making training.
Military spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said, "This (assault) will not stop until we put an end to the Abu Sayyaf."
|2015-02-28 Southeast Asia|
|[ABS-CBN News] Three alleged bomb experts from the Jemaah Islamiyah terror group have been seen in the province of Sulu. According to Ensign Ian Chester Ramos, spokesperson for Joint Task Force Zambasulta, the foreign terrorists were seen with the Abu Sayyaf in a gun battle that broke out last Wednesday.|
Two Philippine soldiers were killed in the clash and 16 others were wounded. Ramos said 14 Abu Sayyaf militants also died in the fierce battle, which lasted for several hours. A number of Abu Sayyaf members were also wounded, including Hatib Sawadjaan, one of the leaders of the rebel group in Sulu.
The Western Mindanao Command has said five JI bomb experts have been conducting bomb-making training with members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. JI members are also targets in the current Philippine offensive against the BIFF in Central Mindanao.
The five foreign terrorists, who came from Malaysia, have been supporting the Islamic State, recruiting local rebels in Mindanao to forge an alliance with the IS.
|2015-02-10 Southeast Asia|
|[Gulf Today] The leader of a Philippine National Police elite unit on Monday disclosed they have uncovered a plot by Jemaah Islamiyah to bomb Pope Francis' motorcade during his recent five-day visit to the Philippines. Deputy Director Getulio Napenas made the disclosure during testimony before a Senate hearing on the deaths of 44 police commandos during a raid in Maguindanao province on January 25.|
Napenas revealed they received reliable information that Marwan, a senior member of the JI who was killed in the raid, plotted to bomb the pontiff's convoy while his motorcade was on Teodoro Kalaw Street in Manila on January 18. The Pope was on his way to attend a major event on that penultimate day of his five-day visit.
Napenas also disputed the MILF claim that they only suffered a total of 18 casualties. The commandos killed at least 250 MILF members and several BIFF members, he told the committee.
|2015-01-29 Southeast Asia|
|[Inquirer] Information gathered from different sources, including Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief Murad Ebrahim, has been used to piece together the events in Maguindanao that led to the deaths of 44 elite police commandos in a gun battle with Moro militants on Sunday.|
Around 6:30 a.m. the MILF fighters in Tukanalipao noticed armed uniformed men approaching. Murad said it was the policemen from Special Action Force (SAF) who first fired upon members of the MILF 105th Base Command, sparking the firefight.
The scene of battle was a vast cornfield where the SAF commandos, reportedly not familiar with the terrain, ended up as sitting ducks for some 100 MILF fighters.
A government source said that the SAF forces were divided into two units, a primary force and a secondary force.
The primary force was to get Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias "Marwan," a bomb expert from Jemaah Islamiyah on whose head the United States had placed a $6-million bounty. The SAF had a secondary target, local terrorist Abdul Basit Usman, another bomb expert for whose capture the United States has offered a $3-million reward. The secondary force was to "protect" the primary force.
It was the secondary force that ended up fighting the MILF guerrillas from the 105th Base Command, the source said. After several hours of fighting, the two sides deescalated but as the MILF withdrew, the source said, militants from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) opened fire on the SAF.
The BIFF had another version of what happened. Group spokesman Abu Misri Mama said at the start, only BIFF militants were involved in the incident. When BIFF forces detected several military vehicles, they prepared an ambush. Mama said, "Many of the casualties [fell] during the ambush."
|2015-01-18 Southeast Asia|
|[Jakarta Post] An armed group is alleged to have gunned down one person and slaughtered two others in Poso regency, Central Sulawesi, amid the arrests of six members of the fugitive network led by Santoso this week.|
The shooting of Dolfis Alipa, a student at Sintuwu Maroso University, occurred on Thursday in Tangkura subdistrict. Poso Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Ronny Suseno said, "The victim was shot dead on his way home from a field not far from his house."
The same group allegedly also killed two other locals, Heri Tobio and Aditla Tetembu. The police found them slain with their throats slit.
The Indonesian National Police's Densus 88 counterterrorism unit has nabbed six people in Poso this week alleged to have links with the Santoso-led group. They were identified only by their initials R, S, H, R, A and I. A man with the initials IS, from Pandajaya Pendolo subdistrict, was also killed as the Densus team attempted to arrest him in East Luwu, South Sulawesi.
Poso was the scene of sectarian conflict that lasted from 1998 to 2000. Over 2,000 people were killed or went missing during that period. In 2001, a peace meeting resulted in a peace agreement called the Malino Declaration.
However, new radical groups have been born in the meantime, including Jemaah Islamiyah, led by cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, now serving a 15-year sentence in Central Java. Later, another group, Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), emerged and was eventually defeated.
More recently, another group calling themselves East Indonesian Mujahidin (MIT), has emerged under the leadership of Santoso.
|2014-12-31 Southeast Asia|
|Indonesian national police have announced the arrests of three suspected terrorists, including two linked to Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) leader Dulmatin , thought to be the mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings. |
Muhammad Shibghotulloh, one of several Indonesians who were deported from Malaysia after being stopped on December 2 while allegedly traveling to the Middle East to join the IS, has since been arrested by Indonesian authorities who have linked him to Dulmatin.
Inspector General Ronny F. Sompie said, "[He] allegedly once sheltered Dulmatin and was involved in a militant group training camp in Ambon."
Shibghotulloh was interrogated for three days and then named a suspect, Sompie said, denying reports the suspect was tied to IS.
Earlier this month, a pair of former suspected leaders of an Aceh terror training camp were arrested in East Java. Dulmatin, killed by Indonesian security forces in March 2010, had run the camp, according to reports.
Tony Sangaralo was arrested in Lamongan on December 21st and Adi Margono was captured the next day in Banyuwangi. The two had allegedly contacted one another. Tony helped run the Janto, Aceh camp that was raided in 2010.
National Police spokesman Agus Rianto said, "Tony was one of those who fled. His colleague, Dulmatin, was shot dead in Tangerang, West Java in 2010. The JI link is now much smaller than it used to be. They are also weaker. Its leader, Jemaah Islamiyah leader Abu Bakar Bashir is serving a prison sentence in Cilacap, Central Java. However, many JI followers are still around. Tony is only one of them."
|2014-12-29 Southeast Asia|
|Indonesian National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Ronny F. Sompie said that a counterterrorism unit had arrested terrorist suspect, Toni Saronggalo, in Lamongan, East Java, on Sunday evening. Ronny said that Tony allegedly assisted now-dead terrorist leader Dulmatin to set up training grounds for the Jemaah Islamiyah militant group in Jantho, Aceh.|
He said, "We have been on the lookout for the suspect [Tony] for an extremely long time. He is currently still being questioned by investigators."
Dulmatin was once one of the region's highest-profile terrorist leaders and a mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings, among many other bombings between 2000 and 2003 in Jakarta and Mojokerto in Surabaya, East Java. The al-Qaeda trained Dulmatin was eventually gunned down in a police raid in 2010.
Toni’s wife, Musmainah, denied knowing about her husband's involvement with the militant group and insisted that he had no other activities apart from chicken trading. She said, "He didn’t do anything in particular during his free time."
|2014-11-30 Southeast Asia|
|Two Abu Sayyaf terrorists and an Indonesian militant were convicted by a court in Manila for their role in a bombing at a shopping center in General Santos in 2002 that killed at least 14 people.|
The judge ruled that Abu Sayyaf militants Ahmad Jekeron, Yacob Basug and Jul Kifli from Indonesia were guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the April 21, 2002 bombing.
Before the bombing, a member of the al-Harakatul al-Islamiyah group or Abu Sayyaf, called up a station and warned that explosions would occur that day.
A former Abu Sayyaf militant and key witness, Abu Hamdie, said the bombing was the first joint attack by the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah.
|2014-11-18 Southeast Asia|
|[InterAksyon] A source from Philippine National Police intelnligence said a newly-formed jihadist group, suspected to be led by Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)-trained Abdul Basit Usman, is in Luzon ahead of the five-day visit of Pope Francis this January 2015.|
The group is apparently a 15-man so-called Special Operations Group (SOG), the source said. The SOG is claimed to be comprised of members of the Al Hansar Khilafa, which is said to have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The source said that the deployment of the SOG from Usman's Group started last June, and may have something to do with the Pope's forthcoming visit. He said the formation of Usman's group, called the "Bangsamoro Justice Movement (BJM)" may have been disrupted after the arrest of Khair Mundos this June and that of Ricardo Ayeras of the Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM).
Mundos, a key leader of the ASG, was suspected to be casing possible routes to be taken by the pontiff when he visits the country from January 15 to 19, while Ayeras was nabbed by the police in Quezon City early last month over a simple traffic violation.
The source estimated that the combat strength of the Al Hansar Khilafa could be as many as 60 men. He said, "Their members come from the Rajah Solaiman Movement-Abu Sayyaf Group of the Isnilon Hapilon faction and Usman's former men with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)," adding that there are also some members from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the Al Hansar Khilafa, with three members of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) also making up the other members of the group.
The source added that the members of Usman's SOG are in Luzon, with some of them possibly in Metro Manila and in the Southern Tagalog Region and all of them well trained in handling explosives.
A separate intelligence source had said earlier that the terror cell in Luzon is headed by an Islamic cleric from Bangladesh. He said four foreigners who joined the Bangladeshi cleric had just come from Cotabato where they were believed to have also trained militants in bomb-making and explosives handling.
|2014-10-28 Southeast Asia|
|A bomb expert with a $30,000 cash bounty on his head was arrested for his alleged involvement in the series of bombings and explosions in Mindanao, police said on Sunday.|
Chief Superintendent Noel delos Santos identified the suspect as Abu Salman also known as Sauman Usma, who was nabbed in Maguindanao province. He said Salman, a relative of foreign trained bomb expert Basit Usman, was shot in the leg when he tried to fight off the police who were armed with arrest warrants issued by a regional court where he was facing charges like murder and kidnapping.
Security sources confirmed that Salman was linked to Jemaah Islamiyah extremists.
Meanwhile, the Philippine government said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was helping the them track down members of the Abu Sayyaf wanted for kidnappings in Mindanao. Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma said, "The partnership is already a given because the government and the MILF are already hunting down the kidnappers."
He pointed out that such co-operation included a crackdown on criminal syndicates preying on prominent Mindanao personalities and business firms by demanding the payment of "protection money".
|2014-10-23 Southeast Asia|
|A combined army and police force on Tuesday arrested an ordnance expert wanted for a series of deadly bombings in Central Mindanao in recent years. Suspect Abi Salman, also known as Sauman Usman, is known to have links with the Jemaah Islamiyah. |
Salman, who has a P1.3-million bounty on his head, was cornered at his hideout in Mamasapano in the second district of Maguindanao. Salman at first yielded peacefully when he saw that his house had been surrounded by uniformed policemen and soldiers, but was shot in the leg by one of the operatives that arrested him for trying to escape.
Local officials said Salman is a close relative of wanted bomber Basit Usman, who was said to have undergone training in handling and fabrication of improvised explosives in Peshawar, Pakistan and in Kandahar, Afghanistan in the early 1990's.
|2014-09-28 Terror Networks|
|By Andrew C. McCarthy|
Excerpt of an opinion piece illustrating the danger of letting your political orientation influence your foreign affairs vision.
[NATIONALREVIEW] Obama gives us the Khorosan Group.
Khorasan. Afghanistan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Pakistan, approximately. Kinda deemphasizes the overweening Arabness of things.
There is a reason that no one had heard of such a group until a nanosecond ago, when the "Khorosan Group" suddenly went from anonymity to the "imminent threat" that became the rationale for an emergency air war there was supposedly no time to ask Congress to authorize.
I've been sitting here doing this stuff for the past thirteen years, day in and day out. I read about a new group about once every two weeks. Think of al-Qaeda as the army and al-Qaeda in wherever as the divisions: the Arabian Peninsula, the Islamic Maghreb, Iraq, that sort of thing. Within each of the divisions there are umpty brigades. Each is concerned with its own internal rivalries, which is why we see Mokhtar breaking off from AQIM and becoming his own "Mourabitounes" (Signers in Blood) group.
You haven't heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn't one.
Yet just today or yesterday there were condolence messages on the departure from the gene pool of its head, who was on the FBI most wanted list with a $7 million bounty on his head.
It is a name the administration came up with, calculating that Khorosan -- the --Iranian--Afghan border region -- had sufficient connection to jihadist lore that no one would call the president on it.
Khorasan appears to be (have been?) a group within al-Nusra, which could also be called al-Qaeda in the Levant.
The "Khorosan Group" is al-Qaeda.
That's a correct statement.
It is simply a faction within the global terror network's Syrian franchise, "Jabhat al-Nusra."
I just said that.
Its leader, Mushin al-Fadhli (believed to have been killed in this week's U.S.-led air strikes), was an intimate of Ayman al- , the emir of al-Qaeda who dispatched him to the jihad in Syria. Except that if you listen to administration officials long enough, you come away thinking that Zawahiri is not really al-Qaeda, either. Instead, he's something the administration is at pains to call "core al-Qaeda."
"Core" al-Qaeda is the "army" staff, located in the Pak-Afghan border area. My guess would be in Miranshah, though I could be wrong. I thought bin Laden lived the life of a gentleman farmer in Chitral.
"Core al-Qaeda," you are to understand, is different from "Jabhat al-Nusra," which in turn is distinct from "al-Qaeda in Iraq" (formerly "al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia," now the "Islamic State" al-Qaeda spin-off that is, itself, formerly "al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Sham" or "al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant"). That al-Qaeda, don't you know, is a different outfit from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula . . . which, of course, should never be mistaken for "al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb," "Boko Haram," "Ansar al-Sharia," or the latest entry, "al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent."
Nor with AQ in Britain, nor with AQ in Europe. They're not the same thing. You cant' confuse the whole with the part. In 2002 Jemaah Islamiyah was a significant threat in Indonesia. After the Bali bombing the Indons rounded them up and exploited the group like they were supposed to: beat hell out of the guys you have until they tell you more guys to get. Jug the cannon fodder and hang the mean ones. The only mistake they made was letting the holy man off. There were a couple lessons there: First, JI was patently a family operation. They were all married to each other's sisters or daughters or aunts or something. Second, all those Islamic arrows are expendable; we occasionally hear about JI in the news, but what we're really hearing about is JI remnants. When AQ or IS rises again it will likely be in Poso with a new cast of characters.
Coming soon, "al-Qaeda on Hollywood and Vine." In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if, come 2015, Obama issued an executive order decreeing twelve new jihad jayvees stretching from al-Qaeda in January through al-Qaeda in December.
They're playing area offense. Remember when the Islamic Courts overran Somalia? And the Ethiopians kindly stepped in and killed as many of them as they could lay hands on? When the dust had settled approximately the same group started up again, this time wearing a false nose and mustache, calling itself "al-Shabaab." It doesn't take an Obama decree to bring one of these groups into being. Boko Haram was nothing but background noise until a few years ago. Now it's got its own "Caliphate."
Except you'll hear only about the jayvees, not the jihad. You see, there is a purpose behind this dizzying proliferation of names assigned to what, in reality, is a global network with multiple tentacles and occasional internecine rivalries.
Each of the tentacles has its own name, its own largely autonomous nervous system.
As these columns have long contended, Obama has not quelled our enemies; he has miniaturized them. The jihad and the sharia supremacism that fuels it form the glue that unites the parts into a whole -- a worldwide, ideologically connected movement rooted in Islamic scripture that can project power on the scale of a nation-state and that seeks to conquer the West. The president does not want us to see the threat this way.
So seemingly the writer can understand the actual enemy, but he quibbles over terminology.
For a product of the radical Left like Obama, terrorism is a regrettable but understandable consequence of American arrogance.
That's kind of the weakness on our side, isn't it? With all that boodle lying around earmarked for the military budget, the impulse to grab the dough for donor-friendly contracts is overwhelming. But it's not just Obama. Cameron's not eager to get involved, either. The Brits are reaching the point where they can't afford to. Hollande, much to my surprise, isn't taking a lot of nonsense from people with turbans suffering from delusions of superiority, but Merkel has been trying to maintain her distance out of post-WWII angst.
That it happens to involve Muslims is just the coincidental fallout of Western imperialism in the Middle East, not the doctrinal command of a belief system that perceives itself as engaged in an inter-civilizational conflict.
If you don't train yourself to believe that, the whole concept of multiculturalism suddenly looks as foolish as it is.
For the Left, America has to be the culprit.
This is the gift of the Soviets. They spent a lot of time and money developing a fifth column in this country. It's blooming while they're in the ashcan of history, at least until short attention span syndrome kicks in.
Despite its inbred pathologies, which we had no role in cultivating, Islam must be the victim, not the cause. As you'll hear from Obama's Islamist allies, who often double as Democrat activists, the problem is "Islamophobia," not Muslim terrorism.
This is a gross distortion of reality, so the Left has to do some very heavy lifting to pull it off. Since the Islamic-supremacist ideology that unites the jihadists won't disappear, it has to be denied and purged. The "real" jihad becomes the "internal struggle to become a better person."
A "better person" who chops people's heads off.
The scriptural and scholarly underpinnings of Islamic supremacism must be bleached out of the materials used to train our national-security agents, and the instructors who resist going along with the program must be ostracized. The global terror network must be atomized into discrete, disconnected cells moved to violence by parochial political or territorial disputes, with no overarching unity or hegemonic ambition.
"Core al-Qaeda" is kind of a misnomer, since "al-Qaeda" means "the base," which it kinda sorta remains. They were designed as a whole, but with the passage of time they broke down into a confederation. Zawahiri twice told ISIL to shut down and merge with al-Nusra. Instead they farted in his general direction and established their caliphate. Splinters all over the world are scrambling to attach themselves to the board. It's that strong horse-weak horse thing all over again. It's the same kind of power struggle Zawahiri had Abdullah Azzam car boomed over.
That way, they can be limned as a manageable law-enforcement problem fit for the courts to address, not a national-security challenge requiring the armed forces.
The stupidity of using the civilian courts to handle krazed killers where much of the "evidence" is based on intel or intel information is patent. It's also an entirely separate problem.
|2014-09-22 Southeast Asia|
|Some 100 local Muslims have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) caliphate on Friday. Those who pledged their allegiance took their mass oath-taking in a surprise announcement inside the Masjid Islamic Center, according to an insider.|
An elderly Muslim cleric Jamil "Motawwa" Yahya, a former senior member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and colleague of MILF leader Salamat Hashim, allegedly organized the mass oath-taking. Yahya is reportedly affiliated with the Bangsamoro Labor Organization which is active in the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East region. Other sources said members of the Khilafah Islamiyah Mindanao-Black Flag Movement was reportedly behind the convergence.
An Afghan cleric Humam Abdul Najid, who has ties with Southeast Asian terror organization Jemaah Islamiyah, is also being linked to the secret mass oath-taking, but these allegations could not be immediately confirmed.
|2014-09-15 Southeast Asia|
|[IsraelTimes] A Canadian Islamic preacher detained for being a security threat in the Philippines was flown back to Canada after agreeing to be deported, the immigration bureau said Sunday.|
Jamaican-born Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips was returned to Canada late Saturday after being detained last weekend in the southern Philippines while on a lecture tour.
This came after immigration commissioners approved his request for voluntary deportation, effectively cutting short the deportation proceedings, the bureau said in a statement.
"He was charged for being an undesirable foreign national and for being inadmissible at the time of entry," the bureau said, explaining Philips's detention.
The bureau earlier said he was blacklisted based on information that he might conduct activities that were a threat to national security.
Police said Philips may have ties to groups as they prevented him from holding a series of lectures in the south where the Philippines's restive minority is based.
In a post on his Facebook page dated September 14, Philips said: "Rejection can be utterly disappointing but we must never forget that every closed door is a redirection to what is better for us."
Philips also acknowledged that he was blacklisted in the United States, , Australia and Kenya, but said this was based partly on statements that were taken out of context.
He was the second Islamic convert preacher to be detained by the Philippines since July, when it and later deported Robert Edward Cerantonio to Australia.
Police said Cerantonio had used the Internet to urge people to join "jihad" in Iraq and Syria, though they said they had no evidence to show he had managed to recruit any Filipinos.
Two southern Philippines-based guerrilla groups, the and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, have uploaded videos on the Internet pledging alliance to the Islamic State who have overrun large swaths of the two Middle Eastern countries.
|2014-08-07 Southeast Asia|
|The Philippine military said that one of Southeast Asia’s top Islamic |
Zulkifli Abdul Hir, alias Marwan, a Malaysian bomb maker with a $5 million US government bounty on his head, was in the southern Philippines, senior military officials said. Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala said, "He is alive and we continue to monitor him."
Philippine military leaders said in February 2012 that Zulkifli was among 15 members of the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah groups killed in an airstrike on the island of Jolo. Another top Jemaah Islamiyah member, Singaporean Mohammad Ali, alias Muawiyah, was also declared killed in the airstrike, along with a Filipino leader of the Abu Sayyaf.
At the time then regional military commander Major General Noel Coballes said, "This is a big victory. There were three senior leaders (killed). This will have a very big impact on the capability of the terrorists."
Shortly afterwards, Malaysia expressed doubts about the purported killings, but the Philippines’ then military spokesman insisted that all three were killed. Arnulfo Burgos, Zagala’s predecessor, said at the time, "Yes, its an A-1 (information). We have something but we cannot divulge all the other information because its an operational (secret)."
However Zagala insisted today that the Philippine military had never said Zulkifli had definitely been killed. He said, "There were reports that said he was dead, but it was never validated… we never confirmed he was dead."
Zagala declined to answer any further questions about the case, such as whether the other two top
Military intelligence chief Major General Eduardo Ano said there were "consistent reports" Zulkifli was in the Cotabato area of the main southern island of Mindanao.
He said Zulkifli was believed to be in contact there with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). He added that there were 10 to 12 foreign Jemaah Islamiyah members in the southern Philippines, and that Zulkifli was "the most prominent" of them.
|2014-08-07 Southeast Asia|
|[AnNahar] An Indonesian bomb-maker convicted of helping to orchestrate terror attacks on the resort island of Bali in 2005 which killed 20 people was released on parole Wednesday, an official said.|
Muhammad Cholili, 36, was sentenced to 18 years in prison in September 2006 for assisting slain ringleaders Noordin Mohammad Top and Azahari Husin to assemble the explosives used in the blasts.
The attacks on restaurants on October 1, 2005 left 20 people dead and over 100 injured.
Noordin and Azahari were key members of the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network blamed for a string of deadly attacks in Indonesia, including the 2002 Bali bombing which killed 202 people, mostly Western holidaymakers.
"Muhammad Cholili has been released on parole today after several remissions which he received for good behavior. He has never broken any prison regulations," the justice ministry's prisons spokeswoman Ika Yusanti told AFP.
Sentences are routinely cut in Indonesia to mark major religious celebrations such as Eid al-Fitr holiday and the country's independence day on August 17.
This meant that Cholili served only around half of his term, but Yusanti said that his release has "received the recommendation from the Detachment 88 and the National Anti-Terror Agency", which are responsible for tracking terror activities in the country.
Yusanti also added that the authorities would continue to monitor Cholili's activities and he will not be able to leave Indonesia without the justice minister's approval.
"If he commits any crime or creates any problems in the community, he will be sent back to prison," she added.
Indonesia's English daily The Jakarta Globe reported that Cholili was surprised to learn of his release from the Lowokwaru Prison in Malang, East Java, but was happy to leave prison.
"The most important thing is to go home and meet my family," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Indonesia, the world's biggest -majority nation, has long struggled with terrorism but a successful clampdown in recent years has prevented major deadly attacks.
recent reports of Indonesians joining the procession of jihadists to Syria and Iraq have sparked fears that they will revive sophisticated networks.
|2014-07-14 Southeast Asia|
|[NZHERALD.CO.NZ] Masked stormed a coastal Malaysian resort, shot a policeman and kidnapped another then sped away in a boat toward the southern Philippines, where have carried out similar raids in the past, a security official said Sunday.|
The latest kidnapping highlights persistent security threats in Malaysia's Sabah state on Borneo Island and is believed to be spillover of violence from the southern Philippines, a region where separatist and kidnap gangs are active just a short boat ride away.
Eight wearing army fatigues barged into the Mabul Water Bungalow Resort late Saturday and ambushed marine on guard there, said Abdul Rashid Haron, who heads the Eastern Sabah Security Command.
A policeman was killed in the shootout and the , who had their faces covered, fled on a boat with another officer, Abdul Rashid said, adding that the boat was seen heading toward the southern Philippines.
He said the may either have been planning to kidnap someone at the resort or were targeting marine police after recent increased security on the island helped to curb their activities.
"We don't know their motive. Maybe they were retaliating because we have tightened security in the area.
I cannot rule that out," Abdul Rashid said.
It was the fourth kidnapping in Sabah since April. A Malaysian fish breeder and his Filipino worker were by Filipino from their farm last month and believed taken to the southern Philippines.
A Chinese fish farm manager, a Chinese tourist and a Filipino resort worker who were all kidnapped earlier this year have since been released.
The abductions have hampered tourism in Sabah, a popular destination for foreigners and a diving haven. Sabah's government has announced a curfew and travel restrictions in high-risk areas.
The Abu Sayyaf, which operates on southern Philippine islands of Jolo and , has had links to international terrorist networks, including al-Qaeda. A U.S.-backed Philippine military crackdown has weakened it considerably in recent years, with the remaining 300 fighters mostly focused on ransom kidnappings.
|2014-06-26 Southeast Asia|
|US reportedly will disband anti-terror force in Philippines|
[FoxNews] After more than a decade of helping fight Al Qaeda-linked militants, the United States is disbanding an anti-terror contingent of hundreds of elite American troops in the southern Philippines where armed groups such as Abu Sayyaf have largely been crippled, officials said Thursday.
But special forces from the U.S. Pacific Command, possibly in smaller numbers, will remain after the deactivation of the anti-terror contingent called Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines, or JSOTF-P, to ensure Al Qaeda offshoots such as Abu Sayyaf and the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah militant network do not regain lost ground, according to U.S. and Philippine officials.
|2014-06-22 Southeast Asia|
|A Malaysian |
Intelligence sources said the bomb expert who is also known by his alias, Marwan, is believed to be a top asset to the group, and had trained a significant number of bombers, including suicide bombers. They include the new cadre of Malaysian
The Philippine military, following a February 2012 raid on Jolo Island, had said it was confident that Marwan, along with more than a dozen others, including the group's top figures, had been killed. However, security analysts had cast doubt over the raid's success, saying the conclusion was made based on field reports and that their identities were not confirmed.
This revelation came as the authorities are arresting up more and more militants bound for Syria, including several who had just returned from the Abu Sayyaf's two-month training program in the southern Philippines.
|2014-06-15 Southeast Asia|
|Three suspected Malaysian international terrorists including a senior militant who allegedly held training sessions at an Abu Sayyaf camp were arrested by the Malaysian Royal Navy on Friday.|
Malaysian officials said one of the terrorists is a senior member of a militant cell that had trained since April 22 at an Abu Sayyaf Group camp in Mindanao. A police statement said, "The suspect has illegally entered Malaysia on June 11 and was hiding in a house in Sandakan."
Malaysian police have so far arrested 12 people alleged to have ties to militant groups in Syria and the southern Philippines, among them an East African national, thought to be member of Al-Shabaab, who was nabbed in Selangor.
Last year, the military neutralized Noor Fikrie Kahar, a Malaysian militant and Ibnu Gholob Al Jitli, known also as Sanusi, an Indonesian terrorist, both members of the Jemaah Islamiyah. The two were blamed for the series of bombings in Mindanao.
Kahar was gunned down by Davao City policemen while trying to detonate an improvised explosive at a hotel on December 18, while Sanusi was killed in a shoot-out with soldiers in Marawi City on November 21.
|2014-06-13 Southeast Asia|
|The Philippine military now has evidence indicating that the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah has been training members of the local Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.|
Brig. Gen. Edmund Pangilinan said troops gathered the evidence from the location in Maguindanao where they clashed with BIFF members last Thursday and captured four militants. The four militants were captured as the military also nabbed Khair Mundos, a leader and key financier of the Abu Sayyaf group, who carries a bounty of $500,000. The group was apparently in the company of Abdul Basit Usman, a JI-trained Abu Sayyaf member, for whom the US government has offered a bounty of $1 million.
Pangilinan said two of militants captured last Thursday were women who appeared to be Usaman's wives while the remaining two men were apparently close associates. He said the recovered evidence bolstered claims that Usman had been training BIFF members in bomb-making and the series of bombing incidents in Central Mindanao over the past few months was part of JI-BIFF operations.
|2014-06-12 Southeast Asia|
|[Ynet] Khair Mundos, a top Filipino commander of the al-Qaeda funded |
group, in Manila's international airport
Philippine army troops and police on Wednesday captured a top Filipino commander of the Abu Sayyaf group who is on the U.S. list of most-wanted and has acknowledged receiving al-Qaeda funds to finance bombings in the country.
Philippine security officials said Khair Mundos was arrested in a slum community near Manila's international airport but it was not immediately clear why he was in the capital. The military and police have been hunting him for his alleged involvement in bombings and kidnappings.
Mundos is one of the highest-ranking terrorist suspects to be captured in the country in years. He was captured in 2004 but escaped in 2007.
Military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Eduardo Ano described Mundos' capture as a major blow to Abu Sayyaf, where he has served as a top commander, financial and logistical officer, trainer and planner of attacks.
The US State Department says Mundos, who also faces money laundering charges, has acknowledged that he arranged the transfer of al-Qaeda funds to the Abu Sayyaf to finance bombings and other attacks in the Philippines.
The State Department announced a $500,000 reward in 2009 for the killing or capture of Mundos. U.S. authorities said he has worked as a financier for Abu Sayyaf.
He has led Abu Sayyaf on southern and is known to have links with members of the Southeast Asian network Jemaah Islamiyah.
Abu Sayyaf, which has an estimated 300 armed fighters split into about six factions, has been blamed for deadly s, ransom kidnappings and beheadings. It was founded in the early 1990s on jungle-clad Basilan, near Zamboanga, a region 860 kilometers (540 miles) south of Manila where American counterterrorism troops have been stationed for more than a decade.
Washington has declared Abu Sayyaf a terrorist group and blames it for deadly attacks on American troops and civilians in the southern Philippines.
|2014-06-11 Southeast Asia|
|A notorious militant leader with links to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya and wanted both by the Philippines and the United States was injured in a clash Tuesday with Philippine troops in Maguindanao province.|
Brigadier General Edmundo Pangilinan said Abdul Basit Usman managed to escape a military dragnet, but two other suspected militants were killed by soldiers who raided a hideout of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). The slain were identified as the grandfather and uncle of Usman's wife, who was also captured along with her two children who were turned over to social workers.
Three other women - two of them Indonesian nationals and a native of Sulu province - were also arrested and that one of them is the wife of Malaysian bomber Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, the leader of the Kumpulun Mujahidin Malaysia, who was reportedly killed in an American-backed airstrike in February 2012 in Sulu province, but his body had not been found or recovered.
Pangilinan said, "Usman was wounded, but he managed to escape and troops are tracking him down. Two other rebels were also killed in the fighting."
He said they recovered a cache of weapons and improvised explosives. Troops also recovered a van and 7 motorcycles ready to be rigged with explosives. A wallet with Usman's picture was recovered in the area as well.
Pangilinan said the raid was launched after a long surveillance operation and intelligence provided by civilians. He said, "This clearly shows that Usman has a connection with the BIFF which was behind the series of attacks and bombings in Maguindanao and nearby provinces."
Pangilinan said troops clashed with about two dozen militants for 45 minutes.
|2014-06-09 Southeast Asia|
Some sources said that local officials, who learned about Goldberg's visit, had even prepared and were ready to brief the former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research in case he wanted to discuss peace and development efforts in the province. But no one from Goldberg's group nor the US Embassy informed the officials that the ambassador would not be meeting with them for still unknown reasons. Some officials said they felt insulted and likened the American ambassador to a cat. One official said, "You know, cats just go inside your house and leave whenever they want. Animals do not have courtesy."
Many Muslims oppose the presence of US troops in Sulu because of the massacre of hundreds in what is known now as the "Bud Dajo Massacre" which happened over a century ago, but the memory of the American campaign is still fresh in the minds of many local Muslims.
Some 600 US troops have been stationed in the region since 2001 after three American nationals - Kansas missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham, and California man Guillermo Sobero - were kidnapped from a posh resort by the Abu Sayyaf. Sobero was beheaded by militants connected to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya, while Martin was killed during a US-led rescue operation.
|2014-06-05 Southeast Asia|
|Philippine government lawyers have recommended murder charges be filed against six senior leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and 26 of their men for the killing of two US soldiers and a Philippine marine in a bomb attack in Sulu province on Mindanao in 2009.|
The Sulu provincial prosecutors office found "probable cause" to file before a regional court murder charges against the MNLF leaders and their men headed by Commander Khaid Adjibon.
The case stems from a bomb attack on a vehicle carrying Filipino and American soldiers on their way to a village in the town of Indanan. Earlier, the MNLF took responsibility for the bombing to avenge the killing of their men in an encounter with government forces in the town in September 2009.
Police revealed a break in the case occurred when a suspected MNLF bomb expert, identified as Miraji Bairullah but more popularly known as Mahang, was arrested Sunday morning.
Chief Superintendent Benjamin Magalong said Mahang did not resist when a team of policemen and soldiers served his warrant. He said, "He (Mahang) is an expert bomb-maker who trained under Jemaah Islamiyah and Al Qaeda."
|2014-05-10 Southeast Asia|
|A new terrorist group has emerged from under the wing of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM), planning to commit acts of terror in Malaysia. Local authorities have recently arrested 11 people on suspicion of involvement with the unnamed, al-Qaeda-inspired group. |
Regarding the arrests, Home Minister Zahid Hamidi said some organizations were using humanitarian missions to train militants in other countries. He said, "We encourage humanitarian missions to other countries, but we will not allow such missions to be used to train members for militant activities."
Reports say the group sent members posing as humanitarian workers to Syria for training.
Though authorities have the 11 suspects in custody, officials at federal police headquarters said police "were nowhere near neutralizing the threat posed by this new terror group".
The group was started in late 2013 and has aggressively recruited new members through Facebook, and infiltrating universities and religious classes. In addition, the new group has dispatched some operatives to Syria, according to reports.
|2014-05-04 Southeast Asia|
|[IsraelTimes] Malaysian police have an 11th suspect in an operation to break up Islamic terror groups posing as humanitarian organizations, an official said on Saturday.|
Police arrested 10 Malaysians earlier in the week during raids in and around the capital Kuala Lumpur and the northern state of Kedah before a man attempting to flee the country was detained on Thursday, said a Home Ministry official.
"Our biggest worry is organizations using humanitarian missions as the basis to train s," said Home Minister Zahid Hamidi as cited by Malay-language daily Berita Harian in comments confirmed by the official.
Hamidi said these groups claimed to be on a "jihad (holy war)", according to the newspaper Utusan Malaysia.
The Malay-language publication also reported that police are still tracing a number of other suspects in ongoing investigations.
Malaysia practises moderate Islam and has not seen any notable terror attacks in recent memory, but concern has risen in the multi-faith nation over perceived Islamisation.
The Southeast Asian country has been home to several suspected key figures in Islamic groups, such as the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah blamed for the deadly 2002 Bali bombings.
Police have said they are also probing terrorism as one possible reason for the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
A source familiar with the arrests told AFP on Monday that those detained were not linked to Jemaah Islamiyah or the disappearance of the jet.
The plane, carrying 239 people, is believed to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean, but no sign of wreckage has been found despite weeks of search efforts.
|2014-05-01 Southeast Asia|
|[VOA News] Philippine officials say at least 15 people have been killed during fighting between government troops and Islamist in a remote southern region.|
The fighting began Tuesday and continued into early Wednesday in the town of Patikul on the island province of Sulu, a stronghold of s.
The military says the fighting broke out when Abu Sayyaf fighters attempted to retake a jungle camp captured by government troops Monday.
Officials say the Islamist advance was successfully driven back, although at least one soldier was among those killed in the .
|2014-04-26 Southeast Asia|
|Agus Dwikarna was a Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) operative who, according to the UN, guided al-Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri on a trip to Aceh. This alleged Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist from Sulawesi disappeared just days after coming home from the Philippines, where he had been imprisoned since 2002 on charges of possessing illegal explosives. |
He returned in early January and spent a few days at his home in Makassar, but his whereabouts since are unknown, Indonesian officials say.
Agus was serving a 17-year sentence when the Philippines deported him to Indonesia. The Philippines convicted him twelve years ago for trying to board a flight to Bangkok from Manila with C-4 plastic explosives and bomb parts in his possession.
Though Agus denied those charges, he had an extensive history of involvement in terrorist activities, according to the UN. In September 2003, the UN's Security Council Committee listed him among people with alleged ties to al-Qaeda and direct involvement with the terror group's most senior leaders.
Until his 2002 arrest in Manila, Agus was "a major figure" of Laskar Jundullah in Makassar, military wing of the Indonesian Mujahedeen Council (MMI). He also worked as a regional head of the Indonesian branch of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, which funnelled al-Qaeda money into the region and gave its operatives cover as charity workers.
According to reports, apart from running a Sulawesi training camp, Agus escorted two of al-Qaeda's top leaders on a tour of Aceh Province: Ayman al-Zawahiri and Mohammed Atef, head of al-Qaeda's military wing, who has since been killed. According to the UN, the two al-Qaeda leaders visited Aceh in June 2002, but other sources date their trip to June 2000.
|2014-03-15 Terror Networks|
|[PJ Media] "Serious transnational threat" Jemaah Islamiyah has been finding new footing in a post-Osama world.|
|2014-03-13 Southeast Asia|
|A terror group from Malaysia plotted in the weeks after 9/11 to attack an airplane using explosives hidden in their shoes, according to a former terrorist who claimed to have supplied the bomb.|
Saajid Badat, a British national and terrorist-turned-government witness, told a New York court Tuesday that he met the group of Malaysians, which included a pilot, in late 2001 and claimed they planned to blow open a planes cockpit door in order to carry out a 9/11-style hijacking.
Badat said he had two shoe bombs for his own terror plot before he gave one to the Malaysians for their operation. Badat wore the other as he flew from Karachi, Pakistan to Holland and from there to England in December 2001. He did not detonate the device on those flights, he said, because he wanted to save it for an attack on an American airline an operation he was planning with now-convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid.
Once in the U.K., however, Badat said he backed out of his operation after speaking with his parents, leaving Reid to go it alone. Reid was arrested after he failed to detonate explosives hidden in his shoes while aboard American Airlines Flight 63 on Dec. 22, 2001.
Badat was arrested in England in 2005 and pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy with others to destroy a passenger airliner whilst in flight by igniting a high-explosive device, according to British authorities.
For whatever reason, it appears the Malaysia plot never went ahead. Badat did not name the group in question in his testimony and the National Counterterrorism Center does not list any major terrorist groups being based in Malaysia. Department of Justice prosecutors declined to elaborate on Badats testimony and the CIA declined to comment. A senior intelligence official would only say American intelligence was aware of the Malaysia 2001 plot.
In 2006, then-President George W. Bush said that in October 2001, Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, the so-called mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, had "set in motion" another plan to hijack planes, this time using terrorist recruits from Southeast Asia. Bush said the operation was foiled when one of the plotters was arrested in Asia. At the time, however, several counter-terrorism officials said the plot was not "definitive" and never got past the "thought" stage.
James Keith, former U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia, told ABC News Tuesday that Malaysia is not known as a harbor for terrorists and that countrys biggest threat when it comes to extremism comes in the form of spillover from its neighbors. For instance, Indonesia, to Malaysias south, is home to Jemaah Islamiya, the terrorist network blamed for a string of attacks in the 2000s including the 2002 Bali bombings, which claimed 202 lives. In recent years that organization has been overshadowed by splinter groups, according to the NCTCs profile of the group.
|[An Nahar] Indonesians who have joined fellow fighting in Syria could help reinvigorate a once-powerful group responsible for major bombings in the world's most populous country, a report said.|
"The conflict in Syria has captured the imagination of Indonesian in a way no foreign war has before," said a report by Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict published this week.
It is a change of pattern for Indonesian who previously have gone to Afghanistan in the late 1980s and 1990s mainly for training, or to the Paleostinian territories to give moral and financial support to fellow s, the report said.
"The enthusiasm for Syria is directly linked to predictions in Islamic eschatology that the final battle at the end of time will take place in Sham, the region sometimes called Greater Syria, or the Levant, encompassing Syria, Jordan, , Paleostine and Israel," the report added.
This notion has attracted Indonesians from different radical streams to go or try to go to Syria, including the Jemaah Islamiyah, or JI, a group responsible for the 2002 bombings on the resort island of Bali which killed 202 people, mostly foreigners.
|[Ynet] A -based pledged allegiance to an al-Qaeda-linked group Saturday, calling on Sunni soldiers to quit a Lebanese army he claimed is controlled by Christians and Shiites.|
al-Ansari made the pledge to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in a recording posted online and broadcast on major television stations, including leading private channel LBC, which said it obtained it from online jihadi forums.
|2013-12-05 Southeast Asia|
|Abu Sayyaf militants have freed a Jordanian journalist after 18 months in captivity in the jungle of Sulu in the southern Philippines. Officials said Baker Atyani was recovered by police forces in the village of Igasan and has been taken to the hospital for medical examination. |
Baker Atyani, who works for the Arabic television news channel, Al Arabiya, has gone inside camps of the terror organization along with his two Filipino assistants to film leaders of the Abu Sayyaf that have been linked to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya, but was taken prisoner on June 12, 2012. Atyani's Filipino colleagues were freed in February this year.
Atyani was released after several calls by the Cairo-based al-Azhar, Jerusalem Grand Mufti and the Islamic scholars of Mindanao, the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and after continuous effort by the Middle East Broadcasting Center.
Some reports alleged that Atyani was a conduit for the Abu Sayyaf and that the ransom demand was only a cover to hide the flow of funding to the terror group, including Jemaah Islamiya, accused of a series of attacks and bombings in the Philippines.
Security sources said Atyani arrived in Sulu on June 11 last year and went to the Abu Sayyaf the next day to secretly interview terror leaders and other militant commanders, including Jemaah Islamiya rebels hiding on the island. Authorities said Atyani had deceived local officials when he claimed to be filming government projects in Sulu, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.
Local officials had repeatedly warned Atyani against interviewing the Abu Sayyaf, but the trio went ahead and secretly met with terrorist leaders, among them Nadzmie Alih. They were first reported missing after failing to return to their hostel, but phoned local officials two days later to say that they were still filming a documentary on the Abu Sayyaf.
Atyani, who had previously interviewed Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan months before the September 11, 2001 attacks, contacted his colleagues to say that they were being held against their will.
|2013-11-08 Southeast Asia|
|A leader of a notorious terrorist group believed to be responsible for several bomb attacks in Central Mindanao since 2006 that killed 31 people and injured more than a hundred others, has been arrested in Sultan Kudarat. |
Police Senior Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac said the suspect Jabide Abdul, alias Zabide/Beds, was arrested on Tuesday. Abdul, supposedly a senior leader of the Al-Khobar Group, was subject of several warrants of arrest on numerous charges.
Chief Superintendent Abelardo Villacorta said Al Khobar is a group of extortionists believed to be responsible for a series of bombings in the central Mindanao region since 2006. He said, The group was allegedly created in support of Jemaah Islamiya (JI) and Foreign Militant Jihadists (FMJ) groups. It was intended to serve as a special unit concentrating on explosive component use and extortion schemes across Cotabato areas, adding that the group first turned into a kidnap-for-ransom group before it became an extortion group.
Al Khobar is known to target businesses and local governments in central Mindanao, Villacorta said, noting that it has been blamed for the series of bomb attacks on bus companies and commercial establishments in the region from 2007 to 2009. He said, A member of the group usually calls the target before the attack and demands protection money to prevent such planned attack on their business. If the money is not paid, an attack is carried out."
|2013-08-10 Southeast Asia|
|A Malaysian wanted by the U.S. for terrorist activities in southeast Asia is hiding in territory held by Moro militants in this province, according to a senior Bangsamoro leader Another source said a member of the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah is also hiding in the province of Sultan Kudarat. |
Von Al Haq, spokesman for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said that Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, is being safeguarded by a breakaway group led by Ameril Umra Kato. Kato, formerly a MILF commander, broke away from the MILF in 2008 over disagreements with fellow militant leaders over negotiations with the government.
He has since founded the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) whose armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), has been involved in recent attacks on government security forces in Maguindanao, including a roadside bomb attack that injured seven soldiers on Wednesday.
Al Haq said Marwan may have played a role in the Aug. 5 bombing in Cotabato City that killed eight people and injured nearly 30 others. He said, "That's what we got on the ground. He's hiding among BIFF members. We also got feedback from residents (of areas) near BIFF camps."
A military source said an Indonesian national was among those killed in a recent military operation against the BIFF in Datu Piang. In a separate statement, Col. Dickson Hermoso said there was an intelligence report that a Jemaah Islamiyah member had been spotted among Moro militants in Datu Piang. But BIFF spokesman Abu Misry Mama denied his group had ties with Marwan or any Jemaah Islamiyah member.
|2013-08-09 Southeast Asia|
|Philippine troops battled Abu Sayyaf gunmen in a clash on Thursday that killed 7 militants and left one soldier dead in Basilan province on Mindanao. |
Colonel Carlito Galvez said seven Abu Sayyaf gunmen and a soldier were slain in fierce firefights in the town of Al Barka. The fighting also left three soldiers injured. He said they stormed the area after intelligence units confirmed the presence of terrorists in the village of Macalang.
Galvez said troops raided an Abu Sayyaf encampment and clashed with the group's leaders - Nurhassan Jamiri, Isnilon Hapilon, Puruji Indama and Khair Mundos - who have links with Indonesian rebel Jemaah Islamiya. He said troops recovered improvised explosives assembled from mortar bombs in the encampment.
Galvez said the Abu Sayyaf leaders are hiding in areas where the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is operating and using them as a shield from pursuing soldiers. Abu Sayyaf militants also attacked an MILF camp in Al Barka town in an effort to drag them into the fighting.
|[AnNahar] A Jordanian military tribunal on Monday nine who were planning to go to neighboring Syria to fight for jihad, a court official said.|
"Today, the state security court initially sentenced nine Salafist jihadist for five years' hard labor each. But it immediately reduced the sentences for six of them to two-and-a-half years' hard labor," the official told AFP.
"The other three did not get reduced sentences because they are still on the run."
espouse an austere form of Sunni Islam.
The official said the army the group in February.
"The court found them guilty of attempting to infiltrate Syria and carry out jihadist actions that would expose Jordan to the risk of aggression and acts of vengeance," the official added.
Jordanian Salafist leader Mohammad Shalabi, better known as , said there were currently more than 500 jihadists from the country in Syria.
"Around 50 of those jihadists have been martyred in Syria so far," he told AFP.
Jordan, which says it is hosting more than 500,000 refugees from Syria's civil war, has arrested dozens of jihadists as they tried to cross into the war-torn country.
The government in Amman denies accusations from the embattled regime of Syrian that the kingdom has opened up its borders to jihadist fighters.
|2013-05-25 Southeast Asia|
|At least seven Filipino marines and four Abu Sayyaf militants were killed in a clash Saturday as the military launched an offensive against al-Qaida-linked gunmen who have been blamed for recent kidnappings and of trying to sabotage a road project in the southern Philippines.|
Nine other marines and about 10 Abu Sayyaf fighters were wounded in the gunbattle that raged for an hour in a sparsely populated village on the fringes of the coastal town of Patikul in Sulu province, military spokesman Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said.
Reinforcement troops were hunting down the fleeing militants, who were believed led by Julaswan Sawadjaan, an Abu Sayyaf commander blamed for kidnappings for ransom, including of a Jordanian journalist and two European tourists, who are still held by the militants.
A son of Sawadjaan was believed to have been killed in the firefight, Sulu's military commander, Col. Jose Cenabre, said, adding the marines initially had difficulty returning fire because the militants took cover near a row of houses.
Sawadjaan's men have been accused of last week's kidnapping of a Filipino marine's wife who works in a Sulu provincial hospital. The gunmen also recently abducted two government men working on a road project in Patikul. The two were freed last week but it was not clear if a ransom was paid, officials said.
While Abu Sayyaf abductions still occur, they are far fewer today than the massive kidnappings that terrorized Sulu and outlying provinces in the early 2000s when the group had many commanders and strong ties with terrorist organizations including the Indonesian-based Jemaah Islamiyah.
U.S.-backed military offensives have crippled the Abu Sayyaf in recent years, but it remains a national security threat. Washington has the group as a terrorist organization.
|2013-04-29 Southeast Asia|
|A Philippine military commander says two army intelligence officers have been killed by suspected al-Qaeda-linked |
Col. Carlito Galvez says two suspected Abu Sayyaf
Galvez says the Abu Sayyaf has also given sanctuary on the island to some foreign
|2013-02-10 Southeast Asia|
|[Ynet] Malaysian prosecutors have charged an al-Qaeda-linked former army captain and a woman with inciting terrorist acts that could have involved violence in Syria.|
Yazid Sufaat, who previously spent seven years in detention without trial, and Halimah Hussein face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
Yazid's been romping around for awhile in Malaysia, one those connect the dots kind of guys. He was the host of a meeting attended by several al-Q bigs, including at least two of the 9-11 hijackers -- Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. He helped provide cover for Zacarias Moussaoui in his wanderings. He was jugged in, I think, 2002, when he came back from Afghanistan. He's a biochemist by training and had been an instructor at al-Q's Derunta biowarfare training camp. He was held until November, 2008. He was released because he promised to be good:
"We released him as he had shown remorse and repentance after almost seven years of rehabilitation,"said Malaysian Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan.He was one of the major links between al-Q and Jemaah Islamiyah, being BFFs with Hambali. Malaysia didn't take that sort of thing nearly as seriously as Indonesia ended up taking it after the Bali bombings. Had he been in Indonesia, he probably would have ended up with some serious jug time, if not a death penalty.
|2013-02-10 Southeast Asia|
|[NST.MY] Yazid Sufaat's wife is going to stand by her man no matter how long it takes.|
"Stand by yer man,"
She was adamant that he had done nothing wrong since his release from detention under the Internal Security Act in 2008 and has been spending all his time with his family.
"Give him two arms to cling to"
"I do not know what he did before his arrest under the ISA but I do know that he was always with me and our children since," said Chomel Mohamad,
"And somethin' warm to come to "
adding that her family are prepared for the long trial ahead.
"When nights are cold and lonely "
She further added that since his release, Yazid had always remained by her side, helping her at their drinks stall in the court cafeteria. Commenting on his arrest, the 48-year-old said she and Yazid had returned from the market and was packing cakes at their stall when she spotted the officer that had previously detained her husband in 2001.
"Yazid! It's da cops! Quick, under da lemonade box!"
"There were at least 15 plainclothes policemen surrounding the stall,
"Dey got us surrounded, Yazid!"
and our assistant (Mohd Hilmi Hasim) was immediately handcuffed.
"Put the cuffs on him, Mahoney!"
"My husband was washing his hands at the sink when the police just grabbed and handcuffed him," Chomel told reporters outside the Ampang court complex, here, today.
"Look like yer doin' somethin' innocent!"
Chomel said Yazid asked the police repeatedly why he was being arrested but no one answered him.
"Yez got nuttin' on me, coppers! Nuttin'!"
When asked her opinion on why her husband was arrested, Chomel said that her husband had mentioned the name "Fikrie" (Mohd Noor Fikrie Abd Kahar). Fikrie, 26, was a member of the Malaysian Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), who was shot dead by security forces in the Philippines last December.
"Fikrie! Dey got Fikrie!"
Chomel said police then took Yazid to their home in Taman Bukit Ampang, where they searched the premises for four hours. She was also there, accompanied by lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fikri.
"I ain't sayin' nuttin' widdout me mout'piece!"
"They took away several Islamic books, the Internet modem and laptop," said the mother of four.
"My emails! Da secret plans! Da codes! Dis don't look good!"
Chomel's stall at the court complex was operating as usual today.
"Lemonade! Lemonade! Have some nice Islamic lemonade!"
His son, Zufar Arif, 21, was handling the business with several workers. Zufar, the second of four siblings, said he only knew of his father's arrest on Thursday afternoon while he was driving back to the city from a public university in Dungun.
|2013-01-09 Southeast Asia|
|[An Nahar] Terror suspects killed or captured in raids last week were planning to launch attacks on tourism spots in Indonesia, national police said Tuesday.|
An anti-terror police squad seven suspects and four others on Sulawesi and Sumbawa islands in central Indonesia last week.
"An investigation revealed that tourism spots in the town of Bima (on Sumbawa) and Tana Toraja in south Sulawesi were targets," said national police Boy Rafli Amar.
Tana Toraja, whose population is mainly Christian, is one of Sulawesi's most popular tourist destinations.
"We're lucky we managed to prevent the attacks from happening," he said, adding that a Bima hotel, places of worship and police offices were also targets.
Police have said the men were connected to a training camp and had been involved in killings of police in Sulawesi's Poso district, a known hotbed of activity.
In two raids on camps in Sumbawa on Saturday, police seized five pipe-bombs and materials to make s, such as nitrate urea powder, scores of nails and batteries.
They also five men from the group led by the country's most-wanted terror suspect Santoso, who has allegedly trained young to launch attacks on security forces.
Two suspects were at a university mosque Friday in southern Sulawesi.
Police have strengthened security in Poso since late last year after two investigating a camp were found with their throats slit. Several small bomb plots were subsequently foiled.
Indonesia was rocked by a series of deadly terror attacks targeted at Westerners during the last decade. Most -- including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people -- were blamed on the al-Qaeda-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah.
|2012-12-16 Southeast Asia|
|A man with alleged ties to Islamic |
Around 7 p.m., police received information Kahar and his Philippine wife had checked in at a hotel, bringing an "improvised explosive device to be used for a terror attack in Davao City", according to de la Rosa.
The military and the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Agency were alerted, and the hotel asked the suspects to leave their room. Kahar and his wife were checking out about 10:30 p.m. when they were approached by members of the intelligence agency and de la Rosa in the hotel lobby.
Kahar raised his cellphone, saying he would detonate a bomb if they tried to arrest or shoot him. De la Rosa quoted the suspect as saying, "If you arrest or shoot me I have a bomb. I will explode it.
"Everybody scampered for safety while the suspects went out on the road, embracing each other, with Kahar raising his cellphone as if warning the lawmen of an impending explosion."
Members of a SWAT team, trying to shoot Kahar, were unable to get a clear shot because the area was crowded with pedestrians and motorists. Kahar eventually grabbed his wife's backpack and ran towards a nearby park, but was cornered in front of a hotel, where he was shot.
De la Rosa said Kahar is suspected of being a member of Jemaah Islamiah. The suspect's passport showed he left Malaysia via Sabah on April 27 and arrived in the Philippines' the next day. He stayed in southern Zamboanga and moved to the predominantly Muslim Cotabato, where he stayed before traveling to Davao on Friday.
Authorities are investigating the woman's possible involvement with JI. Police believe she converted to Islam when she married Kahar.
Officials have said a small number of JI
Kahar's death came one month after authorities gunned down another suspected JI member inside the Mindanao State University in Marawi on November 22.
|2012-12-15 Southeast Asia|
|A man with alleged ties to Islamic militants was shot dead in the Philippines after he threatened to set off a backpack bomb in a stand-off with local police, an official said on Saturday.|
A suspect identified by police as Mohammad Noor Fikrie of Malaysia was killed in the southern city of Davao late on Friday after he threatened to blow up an explosive device in a rucksack, city police chief Ronald de la Rosa said.
"'If you arrest or shoot me I have a bomb. I will explode it,'" de la Rosa quoted the suspect as telling police at the lobby of a hotel during a three-and-a-half-hour stand-off.
The authorities had raided the hotel after a tip-off that one of its guests was planning a "terror" attack in the city of 1.4 million people, de la Rosa told reporters, without elaborating on the source of the information.
He said the Malaysian was a suspected member of Jemaah Islamiyah, an Islamic militant group blamed for attacks in Southeast Asia including the Bali bombing in Indonesia in 2002 that claimed 202 lives.
While in the hotel lobby the suspect brandished a mobile phone, which, he said was the trigger for the explosives contained in the backpack that was being carried by his Filipina wife, de la Rosa said.
The warning triggered a stampede by guests and hotel staff for the exits and the suspect and his wife took advantage of the ensuing chaos to flee the building and run to a nearby park, the official said.
The couple weaved among park visitors in a bid to shake off the authorities, but when they reached a deserted area police snipers opened fire, killing the man, de la Rosa said.
He said police arrested the woman, Anabelle Nieva Lee, and disarmed an "improvised explosive device" that included a mortar shell retrieved from the backpack.
Authorities are investigating the woman's possible involvement with Jemaah Islamiyah, de la Rosa said, adding police believe she had converted to Islam when she married the Malaysian.
Philippine authorities said a small number of Jemaah Islamiyah militants have taken refuge with Filipino Muslim militants operating on the southern island of Mindanao.
|2012-11-17 Terror Networks|
|[Shabelle] The FBI said Wednesday it had added to its list of most wanted the American "rapping jihadi," an operative for Somalia's Al-Qaeda linked Shebab who uses rap as a propaganda tool.|
Omar Shafik Hammami, who was born in Alabama but is now thought to live in Somalia, is believed to be a of the Shebab rebels, who were placed on the US State Department's terror blacklist in 2008.
The group has "repeatedly threatened terrorist actions against America and American interests," the Federal Bureau of Investigations said in a statement.
Also known as Abu Mansour al-Amriki, Hammami has been releasing rap songs in English on the Internet since 2009 as a recruitment tool, although music is forbidden in Al-Qaeda's strict interpretation of Islam.
In the songs, Hammami says he hopes to be killed by a drone strike or in a cruise missile attack so he can achieve martyrdom.
He invites young people to join the jihad to "wipe Israel off the globe," and he encourages strikes against the US military in Afghanistan and Somalia.
Hammami, who has been indicted in the United States on various terrorism charges, has been the subject of an international arrest warrant since 2007.
Also added to the terror most wanted list Wednesday was Filipino Raddulan Sahiron, wanted for his alleged role in the kidnapping of an American in the Philippines in 1993 by the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group
Sahiron is believed to be the leader of the group, which was put on the US terror blacklist in 1997, the FBI said.
The Abu Sayyaf was set up in the 1990s with seed money from Al-Qaeda network, according to the Philippine military, and has been blamed for that nation's worst terrorist attacks.
These include the bombing of a passenger ferry in Manila Bay that killed over 100 people in 2004, as well as many kidnappings of foreigners and Filipinos in the -populated south of the country where it is based.
|2012-11-02 Southeast Asia|
|A group of 11 suspected terrorists arrested in Indonesia in the past week for allegedly planning to attack the U.S. Embassy and other American targets is likely connected to remnants of Jemaah Islamiyah, according to Indonesia's counterterrorism head. |
Ansyaad Mbai said interrogation of the group would probably show they are linked with Jemaah Islamiyah, which was al Qaeda's chief franchise in Southeast Asia and the group that carried out the Bali bombings 10 years ago. He said the group "looked new at first, but we've found that they're connected to the previous terrorist networks."
The arrests came as government forces stepped up operations on the northern island of Sulawesi. Police on Wednesday killed one suspect and arrested two others in a shootout in the Sulawesi town of Poso.
Mbai said Poso is the new front in Indonesia's fight against Islamism. Officials say militants are fomenting sectarian unrest between Muslims and Christians in Poso to destabilize the country and advance their ultimate goal of creating an Islamic nation.
Mbai said, "The center of gravity for terrorism in Indonesia is Solo [in Central Java], but Poso is used as the training grounds now. The situation is already critical. People are scared."
He said it was possible that some of the men apprehended during the past week in the plot against the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta received training in Poso. The 11 suspects were all arrested in cities on Java: Bogor, Solo and Madiun.
Indonesian police said the suspects were planning attacks on the embassy, the U.S. Consulate in Surabaya and an office of the Indonesian arm of a U.S. mining company.
Indonesian police identified the suspects as being from a little-known group called Haraqah Sunni for Indonesian Society, or Hasmi. The group targeted American interests in part for revenge following the anti-Islam video clip, that triggered protests around the Muslim world.
Amar said, "From the investigation so far, we know that one of the reasons why they will launch the act of terrorism is this movie, which they view is a blasphemy against Islam.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in a speech on Tuesday, called on Indonesia's citizens to fight terrorism but added that the rest of the world needs to be careful about angering extremist elements. He said, "I am also calling on to the world, to countries to uphold mutual respect and be sensitive to [values] in other communities, in other nations, in other religions. Stop blasphemies."
Southeast Asia's terror situation is not confined to Indonesia. Lebanese officials last week arrested two Malaysians in Beirut on suspicion of having links with al Qaeda. Marwan Sinno, the lawyer representing the two Malaysians, said they had been accused of working for al Qaeda and planning a terrorist act in Syria.
|2012-11-01 Southeast Asia|
|Marine troops have intensified pursuit operations against Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah members believed to be holding seven kidnap victims in Sulu province, according to a senior naval officer.|
Rear Admiral Armando Guzman, chief of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM), overseeing the Marines' operation in Sulu, said naval blocking operations also have continued in the coast of Sulu to prevent the
Marines encountered a group of Abu Sayyaf
|2012-10-11 Southeast Asia|
|The radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, founder of the group behind the 2002 Bali bombings, is believed to still be giving orders to would-be terrorists from his jail cell.|
Bashir was transferred from police headquarters in Jakarta last week to Batu Penitentiary on the island of Nusa Kambangan, dubbed the Alcatraz of Indonesia because of its extremely high level of security.
The prison island, off the southern coast of Central Java, was also where Bali bombers Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Mukhlas were housed until their executions in 2008.
While police did not initially disclose the reasons behind the sudden decision to move Bashir, which came days ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Bali bombings, it has emerged authorities are concerned that he has continued to be actively involved with terrorist groups even from behind bars.
"The leading figure (for terrorism) is still the same," Indonesia's counter-terrorism agency chief Ansyaad Mbai has told AAP.
"Even though he's already in jail, he's still giving commands."
The 74-year-old founded Jemaah Islamiah (JI), the group responsible for the attacks in Bali, and remains the spiritual leader for Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT), which was designated a terror organisation by the United States earlier this year.
Mbai has also warned that the new crop of violent jihadists now active in Indonesia is being driven by the same radical ideology that led to the 2002 bombings.
"It's no longer important what their name is. What's obvious is the new group and JI are linked ideologically," he said.
"Their ideological figures remain the same."
Bashir, who spent 26 months in prison over the Bali bombings before later being acquitted, was jailed again last year for helping set up a terrorist training camp in Aceh.
He was sentenced to 15 years after being found guilty of using JAT as a front to raise funds for the Aceh camp. The terror cell found training at the remote jungle base was believed to be planning attacks on Western targets.
The counter-terrorism chief also confirmed that a group of five men shot dead in Bali in March were part of a new military wing formed by JAT.
"JAT has several wings. The military wing is called Tim Hisbah," Mbai said.
"This group is also linked with the five people shot in Bali."
Terrorism analyst Noor Huda Ismail said more effort was needed to counter the radical ideology still flourishing in Indonesia, warning that failure to address the problem would almost certainly lead to a repeat of the attacks in Bali.
He said extremist elements in Indonesia were still regrouping after a successful campaign by authorities over the past 10 years.
"We arrested 600, we killed some of them," he told AAP.
"But eventually, those people will be released."
"What do we do with them? Can we hope that they will de-radicalise voluntarily? There needs to be a systematic effort."
|2012-10-07 Down Under|
|A cell of up to thirty jihadis may remain active in Australia, says the man who indoctrinated them while establishing a local branch of Jemaah Islamiah.|
Radical Islamic cleric Abdul Rahman Ayub, who was the deputy leader of JI in Australia to his twin brother Abdul Rahim, has said they were sent by Indonesia's Abu Bakar Bashir, in 1997 to train young radicals in their version of Islam. The brothers stayed until 2002, fleeing around the time of the Bali bombing.
Ayub said the brothers had taught about 100 people. He said, "When I came back from Australia in 2002, to my knowledge there were about 30 people [who were still radicals in Australia]. I don't know about their recent development, whether they're still active or not, but I believe they are still there. Neither I nor ASIO know the exact figures, nor how active they are."
Once one of Australia's most wanted men, Ayub also acknowledged he wanted to make Australia a financial hub for an attempt to overthrow the Indonesian state.
Ayub was trained in Afghanistan between 1986 and 1992. He was an expert in unarmed combat, and worked with Bali bombers Hambali (whose wedding he helped pay for) and Mukhlas (whom he sparred with in kung fu). He said at one time he respected Bashir "more than I respected my parents".
He denied advance knowledge of the Bali attack and insisted he never wanted an attack on Australian soil. He said, "My mission was to preach Islam ... Bashir told us not to commit any violence in Australia - we treated Australia as a country for taking political asylum. But we did teach jihad against Indonesia, against Suharto at the time. We taught about forming an Islamic state, but in Indonesia, not in Australia."
He said Australia was to be "our financial base to financially support our struggle in Indonesia", though that plan had not worked out.
They did recruit British immigrant and Muslim convert Jack Roche to JI - who was arrested and imprisoned in 2002 for conspiring to bomb the Israeli embassy in Canberra. After they recruited him, Roche went to Indonesia where he met terrorist mastermind Hambali.
Ayub said, "Hambali influenced him with this Osama [bin Laden] doctrine and helped him go to al-Qaeda camp. It happened without our knowledge. When Roche returned [to Australia] he acted differently. He didn't obey me, and we suspected something was wrong."
Ayub said September 11, Bali and Roche's plot were mistakes that had changed how Islam was seen in the West and had changed his own faith in violent jihad. Ayub now says, "I was furious. I was very against those attacks because it hurts Muslims themselves. It hurts people in general all over the world. It hurts humanity, and it hurts our principles."
He works in the Jakarta area as a freelance theologian. His brother, who left Australia three days after the Bali bombing, runs two schools. Abdul Rahim did not want to be interviewed but, according to Abdul Rahman, has now also given up his belief in violent jihad.
|2012-10-06 Down Under|
|Australian police had serious fears Indonesian authorities were about to destroy crucial evidence from the Bali bombings because of Muslim burial traditions, former commissioner Mick Keelty has revealed.|
Mr Keelty was commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) at the time of the terror attacks carried out by Jemaah Islamiah. He was responsible for leading Australias response, including helping Indonesian police in their ultimately successful hunt for the perpetrators.
But the former commissioner revealed there were fears that Indonesian authorities would destroy crucial clues because of the Muslim custom of burying the dead within 24 hours. He said, Muslims bury their dead within 24 hours, but we know that in our own experience in Western traditions if you have a murder in Sydney you could potentially leave the body in situ for 24 hours or more. There was that tension (in Bali) about cleaning up the crime scene very quickly. And some of the Indonesians are very good at that, they get on with things.
Keelty said there were also fears that the federal police would not be able to give the Australian government and public a quick and proper explanation of what happened if the evidence was not analysed correctly.
Keelty said, When theres bombs exploding, you cant discern one body from another Its very hard to identify people. We talked to Indonesia about the Interpol international standard, which was to have fingerprints or other forms of identification DNA and of course DNA identification takes a lot of time.
Back here at home, people just wanted answers. People wanted to know whether their relatives were alive or dead. That was a very frustrating time at home. People wanted answers and wanted them straight away.
He said the co-operation between Australia and Indonesia in the aftermath of the attack had become the envy of law enforcement agencies around the world, including Americas FBI.
|2012-09-30 Southeast Asia|
|Meet Idris: Bali bomber, a senior member of the terrorist group that planned and then carried out the attack 10 years ago that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.|
Ask him for an explanation of what he did and Idris comes up with the most lame of all possible answers: he was just following orders.
In his first interview with Australian media, the freed bomber says he would willingly wage jihad on Indonesian soil again, but only if he thought he was fighting in a "legitimate war zone" - including an armed inter-religious conflict on Indonesian soil.
He said, "If some time in the future I form the intention to do jihad, it is obvious that I'll go to war. If there is such a zone in Indonesia, of course I will go there."
It's clear he's mostly concerned about himself. What torments him is the question of whether or not he will go to heaven.
He said, "I have never felt glad, happy or gay about this affair. In my heart I keep hoping that what I did was right and that I will be rewarded. However, I'm always worried that it was wrong and that Allah will punish me."
Idris was 12 kilometers away on a motorcycle with fellow terrorist Ali Imron when he felt, as much as heard, the bomb go off. He recalled, "It's as if it came from underground."
As the subterranean rumble reached him, he did not spare a thought for any of the victims. His thoughts were only for himself. He said, "The feeling of fear dominated. [Ali Imron and I] went to a restaurant. There was rice in front of us. We couldn't finish it, not even a quarter of it. Even water tasted bitter No one talked. We heard the sirens, ambulance, we felt really afraid."
Idris can only speak now because he is a free man. He escaped conviction for the Bali bombing on a technical legal point when Indonesia's constitutional court ruled he could not be convicted under laws passed after the bombing took place.
He was sentenced to 10 years in jail for a different bombing - the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in 2003 - which killed 12 people. But after remissions and parole he served just five years. He was released in 2009.
Now he lives with his family and looks after his sick mother, but complains he cannot find work because his past means no one will give him a job.
Idris attended Ngruki, Abu Bakar Bashir's school of jihad in Solo, but his learning did not lead to action until 2002. Then two of Indonesia's most important jihadis, Amrozi and Mukhlas, the top leader of Jemaah Islamiah in Asia, called him to a small house in Solo.
It was a meeting to plan a bomb attack on "America and its allies" in Bali - a place they saw as a center of infidel hedonism.
Idris became the manager of the project. He said, "My role was to provide logistics and to prepare various things, such as providing a house, car, surveying the target, and also preparing food. Basically anything my friends might need."
Idris says Mukhlas, who was executed in 2008, was the one who gave the orders. To Idris, everything he did can be explained by that fact.
He said, "I couldn't think about if [the attack] was justified or not justified. If the senior commander ordered us to do it, we had to."
What about conscience? Humanity? "I didn't think, I simply followed what Mukhlas said."
Idris does not feel bad about being released from jail. He said, "It is the state who created the law Whether it was fair or not I cannot say."
When I showed Idris pictures taken in 2002 of maimed and burnt bodies, of the destroyed buildings and the remains of the van that contained the bomb. I asked him how he feels and he paused for thought.
He said, "When I saw the pieces of bodies, I just thought something like, 'Wow,' or 'Oh my God', because I know there isn't any Islamic law about this,'' he says. ''It's like: 'Look how much damage I did'."
|2012-09-13 Southeast Asia|
|On November 6, 2011, a Filipino man uploaded a video on YouTube. In the video he wore a camouflage jacket and a mask covered his face and head. In Arabic he asked Muslims to support and contribute to the jihad in the Philippines. |
Identified as Commander Abu Jihad Khalil al-Rahman al-Luzon, the man called on Muslims to unite, saying there was "no way to restore the Islamic Caliphate and the glory of the religion but through jihad."
It triggered a big reaction in the Philippines, triggering a wave of videos, letters and audio messages from Filipino jihadists which were promoted on al-Qaeda linked sites and jihadist websites like Shumukh al-Islam and Ansar al-Mujahideen English Forum (AMEF).
Sources from 3 different countries say that Abu Jihad Khalil is 31-year old Khalil Pareja, a Christian convert to Islam who became the leader of the Rajah Solaiman Movement in 2005. RSM worked closely with the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah.
Their alliance carried out at least two attacks: the Superferry bombing in 2004, one of the worst maritime terrorist attacks in history; and the Valentine's Day bombings in 2005 -- two near-simultaneous explosions in General Santos City and Davao City, followed an hour later by an explosion on a bus in Makati.
A Philippine intelligence report said that Pareja not only made jihadi posts on YouTube, he was also active on Facebook -- a case study of how one man can connect jihadis and terrorists from many countries through social media.
|2012-09-10 Southeast Asia|
|[An Nahar] A suspected was critically injured when a bomb apparently being prepared for terrorist attacks at a house near Indonesia's capital, police said Sunday. At least three other people living nearby , and witnesses said one of two suspects who fled also appeared to have suffered an injury.|
An elite anti-terror squad was searching for the two men who reportedly escaped after the strong blast went off late Saturday in Depok, a town on the outskirts of Jakarta, said National Police Maj. Gen. Anang Iskandar. The incident came just days after police raided another home in Jakarta where bomb-making materials were found in connection with a terrorist group that allegedly plotted to kill police and bomb the country's parliament building.
Iskandar said police at the latest site found a badly injured man whose left hand had been cut off. Bomb-making devices were found scattered around him.
"We suspect he was making bombs when one of them detonated prematurely," Capt. Agus Widodo, a local police chief in Depok, told s at the scene. "His condition is critical. We cannot talk to him."
He said the man also suffered burns covering up to 70 percent of his face and body.
Police questioned five people living near the rented house -- listed as an orphanage foundation office and herbal clinic, but never opened to the public -- including two injured men and a woman with slight wounds to her head.
They told that they saw two men flee on a just after the blast, and that one of them managed to jump a fence even though he appeared , Widodo said.
"It was actually a safe house from evidence found there," Widodo said, adding that a group was apparently preparing bombs for terrorist attacks.
Police seized a big haul of bomb-making materials, including six pipe bombs, three grenades, two machine guns and a Berreta pistol, Iskandar said in a text message. A bomb squad team was investigating the explosives that were packed with nails to maximize impact.
The incident came amid a security crackdown in recent days in which two were killed and three others . Just four days earlier, police found bomb-making materials at another home in Jakarta, where suspected bomb maker Muhammad Toriq lived, but managed to escape when police raided his house.
Iskandar said there was a resemblance between Toriq and the man . He said police would conduct a DNA test after gathering a sample from Toriq's mother to determine if the identities match, adding that explosives found in Depok were similar to the homemade bombs discovered at Toriq's home.
Toriq is believed to be linked to a group that planned to shoot police and bomb the parliament building to wage "holy war" and establish an Islamic state.
Indonesia, a secular nation with more s than any other in the world, has been battling since 2002, when linked to the Southeast Asian network Jemaah Islamiyah started attacking Western nightclubs, restaurants and embassies.
|2012-09-09 Southeast Asia|
|[An Nahar] Arrested Indonesian terror suspects have revealed plots on the parliament building and to attack police in the name of jihad, a said Friday.|
Two different terror groups planned to attack the country's parliament in Jakarta and plotted bomb and gunfire attacks on police in the central Java city of Solo, the country's counter-terrorism agency's chief Ansyad Mbai said.
"We worked with the anti-terror police squad to intensify hunting for suspects still and also stepped up security measures to anticipate any possible attacks," he told Agence .
Bayu Setiono, 22, who was following a shootout last week in Solo that left two terrorist suspects and an anti-terror officer dead, said his group plotted more attacks.
"Our plan is to break up Solo like what happened in Ambon and Poso. We want to uphold Islamic Sharia and create a caliphate in Indonesia," he said referring to violence between s and Christians, killing thousands in early 2000.
In an interrogation video released by police on Thursday, Setiono said they targeted police as they were considered as infidels for arresting and killing Islamist s.
Another terror suspect said he surveyed the parliament building three times before he was by police in July, the senior anti-terror official Mbai told AFP without giving details about what stage the plot had reached.
"There are several small groups which their underground works are not related to each other, but they all came from the Jamaah Islamiyah (JI) and the Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT)," he added.
JAT, dubbed a terrorist organization by the United States, was founded in 2008 by radical -majority Indonesia suffered a series of deadly attacks over the last decade by terror network JI -- blamed for the Bali bombings in 2002 that left 202 dead. There has not been a major incident since 2009 but experts believe small cells are still ready to attack. Police on Thursday launched a manhunt after finding s at a house in Jakarta.
|2012-08-11 Southeast Asia|
|[An Nahar] An Indian man al-Qaeda-linked Friday after being held captive in the southern Philippines for nearly 14 months.|
Bijo Kolara Veetil escaped before dawn Friday as his captors were preparing breakfast, said Sulu provincial police chief Antonio Freyra.
A heavily bearded Veetil, 37, later told s at a hospital that after he slipped out of the s' encampment in the hinterlands of Patikul township, a villager brought him to a provincial official, who handed him to police. He was then taken to the hospital.
Veetil, who worked as an operations manager for a garment company in Kuwait, said he was kidnapped in June 2011 while visiting his wife's family in Patikul.
The kidnappers demanded about 300,000 pesos ($7,100) in ransom, but his family refused to pay. He said he wasn't harmed because he is a .
|2012-08-04 Southeast Asia|
The 74-year-old is widely regarded as a
Weve heard Muslims screaming in your country because of your acts of evil...you have taken them out from their homes and are killing them, he wrote in the letter dated July 22, which was passed on to followers and published on the website voa-islam.com. If you neglect these calls, by Allah our Lord, you have witnessed the fall of proud and conceited countries in the hands of our mujahideen soldiers."
The letter was confirmed as authentic by Son Hadi, the spokesman for Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT), a group founded by Bashir in 2008.
You must know that we are brothers as Muslims. Their pains is our pain, their sorrows are our sorrows, and their blood that you shed is our blood too, Bashir wrote. By the will of Allah, we can destroy you and your people.
Son Hadi said Friday that the letter was submitted on Monday to the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta. The embassy was not reachable for comment.
About 100 Muslim extremists from the Indonesian branch of pro-Caliphate organization Hizb ut-Tahrir protested Friday outside the Myanmar embassy and vow a Jihad to stop the Muslim cleansing.
We are ready to
Violence erupted in June in Rakhine state, in western Myanmar, between Buddhists and Rohingya, leaving about 80 people dead from both sides, according to official estimates deemed low by rights groups. Myanmar security forces opened fire on Rohingya Muslims, committed rape and stood by as rival mobs attacked each other during the recent wave of sectarian violence, New York-based Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.
|2012-07-30 Southeast Asia|
|[An Nahar] Philippine authorities have a founding member of the al-Qaeda-linked group blamed for some of the worst terror attacks in the region, security officials said on Sunday.|
Ustadz Ahmadsali Asmad Badron, also known as Ammad or Hamad Ustadz Idris, was on Saturday in the remote Tawi-Tawi islands in the southern Philippines.
Police criminal investigation regional chief Edgar Danao said Badron was one of the original members of Abu Sayyaf, which was founded in the 1990s using seed money from al-Qaeda leader
"Badron was among the trusted members of (Abu Sayyaf) who made millions of pesos in ransom money collected from their operations," Danao said.
Along with one of his cousins Badron worked alongside Galib Andang, a notorious Abu Sayyaf leader well known as "Commander Robot".
The group carried out a daring cross-border raid on a Malaysian resort in April 2000 and kidnapped dozens of foreign tourists.
It gained Abu Sayyaf international notoriety even as the hostages were freed in batches after millions were paid following ransom negotiations brokered by Libya, officials said.
The group has also been blamed for the worst attacks in Philippine history including a ferry bombing in Manila in 2004 that killed more than 100 people.
Subsequent U.S.-backed operations against Abu Sayyaf led to the killing of key leaders, while many others including Andang were , but he was later killed in a botched attempt to escape in 2005.
While on the run, Badron allegedly helped foreign from another regional terror group, the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), to hide in the southern Philippines.
|2012-07-18 Southeast Asia|
|Islamic extremists in Indonesia are regrouping despite a decade-long crackdown that has weakened the deadliest networks, the International Crisis Group think-tank has said. |
Militants are finding each other and building new cells "on the run, in prison and through Internet forums, military training camps and arranged marriages", the report said, saying the threat of terrorism was far from over.
Strengthened anti-terror units have divided cells such as Jemaah Islamiyah, but smaller groups have formed and carried out low-impact attacks.
International Crisis Group (ICG) senior adviser Sidney Jones said in a statement. "Fortunately for Indonesia, most of these would-be terrorists have been singularly inept. But there are signs that at least some are learning lessons from their mistakes and becoming more strategic in their thinking. The danger is not over."
In early 2010, police discovered a training camp in Aceh province "involving all major jihadi groups in the country", according to the report, "How Indonesian Extremists Regroup".
After around 200 people were arrested and some 30 suspects killed over the following two years, new alliances emerged, dormant cells were revived and recruits were made "through internet chatting, prison visits and radical lectures".
ICG Southeast Asia project director Jim Della-Giacoma said officials in Indonesia had been lucky because the extremists had often not been competent. He said, "Ten years after Bali, there are virtually no effective programs in place to address the conditions that allow jihadi ideology to flourish."
|2012-07-17 Southeast Asia|
|MUSLIM in Indonesia are regrouping despite a decade-long crackdown that has weakened the deadliest networks, the International Crisis Group think-tank has said.|
Islamists are finding each other and building new cells "on the run, in prison and through Internet forums, military training camps and arranged marriages", the report said, warning the threat of terrorism was far from over.
Beefed-up anti-terror units have divided cells such as Jemaah Islamiyah - blamed for the 2002 twin bombings on Bali that killed 202 people - but smaller groups have formed and carried out low-impact attacks.
"But there are signs that at least some are learning lessons from their mistakes and becoming more strategic in their thinking. The danger is not over."
In early 2010, police discovered a training camp in Aceh province, on the northern tip of Sumatra, "involving all major jihadi groups in the country", according to the report, "How Indonesian Extremists Regroup".
After around 200 people were and some 30 suspects killed over the following two years, new alliances emerged, dormant cells were revived and recruits were made "through internet chatting, prison visits and radical lectures".
ICG Southeast Asia project director Jim Della-Giacoma said police in Indonesia - the world's most populous country - had been lucky because the had been incompetent in many cases.
"Ten years after Bali, there are virtually no effective programs in place to address the conditions that allow jihadi ideology to flourish," he said.
|2012-07-12 Southeast Asia|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Gunmen suspected to be Islamic ambushed a convoy carrying farm workers in the southern Philippines yesterday, killing six and wounding 22 others, the army said.|
The four-vehicle convoy, which also carried armed security escorts from a government militia, was on its way to a remote rubber plantation when it was attacked, Army Major Harold Cabunoc said.
No group for the attack on Basilan island, although local police and the farm cooperative's manager said they suspected the Al Qaeda-linked group.
Basilan is a rugged, jungle-clad island in the southern Philippines. It is a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf and farm workers commonly travel with armed escorts.
The Abu Sayyaf is a small Islamic movement that has been blamed for most of the country's worst terror attacks as well as the kidnapping of foreigners.
|2012-05-22 Southeast Asia|
|Indonesian prosecutors on Monday asked for a life sentence rather than the death penalty for Umar Patek, the bombmaker accused of being behind the Bali attacks that killed 202 people.|
When the trial started in February prosecutors had said they would seek capital punishment for Patek, who was held last year in the Pak town of , four months before al-Qaeda chief was killed there.
Prosecutor Bambang Suharyadi told the West Jakarta District Court that Patek had been proved guilty of premeditated murder, but they were seeking a lighter sentence because he had been remorseful and cooperative.
"We the prosecutors recommend... the defendant Umar Patek be given a life sentence," Suharyadi told the court. "He has been polite and cooperative during the trial and regretted what he has done."
Patek, 45, is accused of assembling bombs for the attacks on two nightclubs on the resort island on October 12, 2002 which killed many Western tourists, including 88 Australians, and on churches in Jakarta on Christmas Eve 2000.
Patek on Monday repeated an apology he made earlier this month to the relatives of the dead.
"I regret what I have done... (and) I apologize to the families of victims who died -- Indonesians and foreigners," he said.
Patek is accused of being the expert bombmaker for Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a Southeast Asian terror network linked to Al-Qaeda.
He denies he led the bombmaking for the Bali attacks, admitting to playing only a small role. He confessed to mixing the chemicals for the explosives, but claimed he did not know how the bombs would be used.
Patek allegedly used simple household tools including a rice ladle to assemble the Bali bombs, which according to the court indictment were housed in ordinary filing cabinets.
He was in Abbottabad in January last year. Evidence in the trial suggested bin Laden gave JI $30,000 to wage jihad in the region and Patek might have met him in the Pak town -- a claim he has repeatedly denied.
|2012-05-08 Southeast Asia|
|The terror suspect accused of building bombs used in the 2002 Bali nightclub attacks has apologized for the first time to victims.|
Umar Patek, a leading member of the al-Qaeda-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah, said he was against the bombings that killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists, from the start.
|2012-04-29 Terror Networks|
| A year after the Navy SEAL raid that killed the Al Qaeda that carried out the Sept. 11 attacks is essentially gone but its affiliates remain a threat to America, U.S. counterterrorist officials say.|
The situation's similar to the end of World War II: Europe (the world, in fact) was still crawling with fascists and Nazis, but they weren't a major threat anymore. The literature of the time still featured evil Nazi villains, but the real world news had moved on to other things.
Core Al Qaeda's new leader, Ayman al- still aspires to attack the U.S., but his Pakistan-based group is scrambling to survive, under fire from CIA drone and lying low for fear of another U.S. raid. That has lessened the threat of another complex attack like a nuclear dirty bomb or a biological weapon, the officials say.
This is probably the spot to note that the Paks still wax indignant over the drone zaps, even though they are theoretically to the benefit of the Paks. North Wazoo is way outside the control of Islamabad, though they still maintain liaison with the Qaeda-allied groups, including Jalaluddin Haqqani's little empire, various Pak Taliban groups, and the remnants of TNSM. Sami ul-Haq's Darul Uloom Haqqania madrassa, in Akora Khattak, turns out a thousand "Islamic scholars" a year. Mullah Sandwich is, of course, known as "the Father of the Taliban" and the madrassa is the "Harvard of the Taliban movement." Sami is unmolested and in fact revered in Pakistain, even having sat in the senate for a few years. He probably needed two chairs to accommodate the size of his ego.
Al Qaeda's loyal offshoots are still dangerous, especially Yemen's Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.
Some are, some aren't.
Al-Qaeda in Britain appears to be defunct, as does al-Q in Europe. We occasionally hear of an al-Q in Turkey kaboom, but the Grand Turk seems diligent about rounding them up and letting them see how they like being in a Turkish prison.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq died when Zarqawi got his. The level of violence has been dropping since he was stuffed and mounted, and the Iraqis are now capable of rounding up the Islamic remnants. They won't become a threat to the state unless the state starts to collapse.
Jemaah Islamiya, in southeast Asia, is similarly not quite defunct but getting there. Abu Sayyaf is reduced to being little more than bandidos, which is what they started out as, and the Pentagon Gang doesn't seem to be with us anymore.
JMB and HuJI in Bangladesh are also goners. Keep in mind that Bangla is a tangle of corruption and personality politics. All it takes to control terrorism is
Qaeda in North Africa seems to have been mostly run out of Algeria, never got a toehold in Libya or Morocco, and hasn't even done well in Mauritania. The best they've been able to do recently is link up with the Tauregs and capture Timbuktoo from Mali, which is one of those things where you'd be surprised if they couldn't do it.
The Ethiopians are in Somalia, kicking Islamic butt for the second time. The Islamic Courts have been broken up -- the only guy they had who seemed to have any sense is now president of Somalia, while al-Shabaab, which was a mere murderous faction, is being forced out by the Aethiops, the AU, and domestic Islamist but not Qaeda groups. The turbans are now trying to take over Puntland, which will probably be a lot harder than they expect.
Boko Haram is on the rise in Nigeria and it presents a major threat that I don't think the Nigerian government quite comprehends. They're already picked up on two important facts: it's sponsored and financed by Nigerian politicians for domestic political ends, which is sure recipe for having your monster eat you at some point in the future; and there is significant foreign involvement. At some point they will either get serious and start rounding up holy men, or they'll have another civil war that will make Biafra look like... ummm... jello wrestling.
While not yet able to carry out complex attacks inside the U.S.,
... which was the whole idea behind the War on Terror...
such groups are capable of hitting Western targets overseas
... and always will be. It doesn't take much in the way of hardware of training to commit an act of terror. Witness Breivik, the Norwegian anti-Islamist nutbag.
and are building armies and expertise while plotting violence,
The "armies" are infinitesimal. Every time they pop up, except for Pakistain and possibly Timbuktoo, they get chopped to pieces. Usually it's by the local government, sometimes by Aethiops. Even in Yemen, which is a failed state by any definition except perhaps (and only perhaps) the one current in Sana'a, they're getting chopped up. They had to get rid of Saleh, and now they're getting rid of Saleh's minions, but they're hitting back in the south, and last we saw they were in the process of retaking Zinjibar. Like the maggots they are, al-Q thrives on decay and corruption. Once an even remotely competent government is in place they revert to being nothing but nuisances, if occasionally fatal nuisances.
according to senior U.S. counterterrorist officials who briefed reporters Friday. "Each will seek opportunities to strike Western interests in its operating area, but each group will have different intent and ability to execute those plans," said Robert Cardillo, a deputy director at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
That's kind of a plain vanilla statement of the obvious. I wonder why they call it Fox "News"?
The shift from a single, deadly group to a more amorphous threat may not seem much of an improvement.
If you're being attacked by a horde of screaming Huns and General Aetius shows up with his legions to break the horde into smaller, digestible groups, your situation's improved. If you're foolish enough not to follow up and finish the job, and maybe even have Aetius bumped off, then failure's your own damned fault.
But the U.S. believes that the bin Laden raid and continued U.S. counterterrorist action have reduced the chance of a sophisticated, multipronged attack on the U.S. like the attacks of Sept. 11 or the deadly bombings in Madrid in 2004 and in London in 2005.
The threat's "reduced" only because they're in the past. Young fellows who think turbans are neat continue running off to Pakistain to buy curly-toed slippers and to learn how to blow things up. It does not take a lot of money or a lot of training to commit an act of terror, especially when the agent is considered expendable. Every major act of terrorism in at least the past five years and maybe ten (I haven't checked in detail) has had at least one Pak involved at the controller level. The willingness to expend human life to achieve relatively minor ends is a hallmark of al-Q, and especially of Pak-based al-Q. Their level of respect for human life would make Fu Manchu blanch. Even Thulsa Doom would come down with the vapors.
An attack with weapons of mass destruction -- chemical, biological or nuclear -- by any Al Qaeda-related terror group also seems less likely in the coming year, Cardillo said.
... unless they can fit them into a boom jacket...
Al Qaeda's Zawahiri has not managed to harness multiple groups into a cohesive force focused on a single, catastrophic attack, officials said. Al Qaeda's key affiliates in Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and North Africa have pledged allegiance to Zawahri but, unimpressed with his leadership, "have not offered the deference they gave bin Laden," Cardillo said. Zawahri has a reputation as an abrasive manager and a less than charismatic speaker.
He's argumentative and dogmatic, but he's also likely to have people he disagrees with blown up. His own end could very likely be at the hands of an indignant Mehsud whose second cousin's car blew up after an argument with Screech.
That loss of a single, charismatic voice likely means "multiple voices will provide inspiration for the movement," leading to a bout of soul-searching as to what the splinter groups want to target and why, Cardillo said. "There will be a vigorous debate about local versus global jihad within and among terror organizations," he said.
The charismatic leaders will also be the guys who get that clenchy feeling between their shoulder blades whenever they hear a jet aircraft.
Another potentially positive sign is Al Qaeda's failure to hijack the Arab Spring revolt in Egypt, Tunisia or Libya. On the negative side, the officials said, Al Qaeda is working hard to co-opt rebels in Syria.
Thre's been considerable alarm taken over the success of the Moslem Brüautderbund and al-Islah in the new Arab Spring governments. Since I don't have to live under their rule I'm considerably more sanguine. They're the cowpox to the al-Qaeda smallpox. The same people who are Islamist today were Nasserites or socialists fifty or sixty years ago, fascists 75 years ago, or Baathists at any time within that span. We're looking at a society where people follow the guy who has all the answers. The MB will now be given the chance to show their stuff, which will mean another thirty or forty years of oppression, just oppression that's of a different flavor than the oppression of the uniformed dictators they've been living under. There'll be another "Arab Spring" at some point in the future (I'll be dead by then) and the MB will be replaced by some other bunch that has all the answers. And so on for another thirty or forty or even fifty years.
If the political wrangling in any of the post-revolt nations fails to produce stable, responsive governments, Al Qaeda and its ilk may be able to seize the void, the officials said.
But they'll only be significantly successful if the governments collapse completely, as in the case of Yemen, Somalia, or northern Mali. Or if there's government connivance, as in the case of Pakistain.
That's what has occurred in Yemen, where AQAP has taken full advantage of the local government's preoccupation fighting multiple political opponents.
AQAP has grown in size and territory covered despite constant and expanded targeting by Yemeni and U.S. counterterrorist forces, the officials said.
Actually they've waxed and waned. They were waxing when they hit the USS Cole in 2000, they waned post-9/11, to the point where the "Aden-Abyan Army" winked out of existence. Then they started waxing again when Saleh's troubles started and he needed something to threaten his opposition with and to try and round up support from the U.S. and the Brits. Now I think they're slowly starting to wane again as Hadi tries getting them under control and we keep dronezapping.
Another threat they cited: Homegrown extremists, either lone actors or small groups inspired by Al Qaeda, who remain intent on committing violence.
These are the nuisance guys that we'll never be rid of unless we start catching them on Monday, trying them on Tuesday, and hanging them on Wednesday.
The officials also noted that every time U.S. counterterrorist forces strike, they must take care to avoid everything from civilian casualties to hitting the wrong target, lest the blowback produce more enemies. "The key challenge will be balancing aggressive counterterrorism operations, with the risk of exacerbating the anti-Western global agenda" of Al Qaeda and its affiliates, Cardillo said.
Whether we kill innocent bystanders or not, the Urdu press and the Iran news agencies will report that we did. Green Helmet Guy and his analogs are still around. So I don't think unreasonable care is actually called for.
|2012-04-20 Southeast Asia|
|[An Nahar] An FBI agent testifying in the trial of the suspected Bali bomb-maker said Thursday the accused had been identified as an explosives expert by other Islamic and had planned to kill U.S. troops.|
Indonesian prosecutors accuse Umar Patek, who was last year in the same Pak town where U.S. commandos later killed al-Qaeda chief , of constructing the bombs that killed 202 people, mostly Westerners.
Frank Pellegrino, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who interrogated many Islamic following the 9/11 attacks in the United States, arrived in Bali shortly after the October 2002 nightclub bombings on the holiday island.
Pellegrino said he interrogated around 20 Islamic s, most from the al-Qaeda-linked Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), of which Patek is believed to be a key member and which was behind the Bali attacks.
"Many did know Mr. Patek and all described him -- especially after the time of Bali bombings -- as a leader, a bomb-maker, a well-known bomb-maker who knew how to mix chemicals and knew how to teach people how to mix chemicals," Pellegrino testified at the trial at the West Jakarta District Court.
Pellegrino was one of the FBI agents responsible for tracking self-confessed 9/11 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was caught by Pak authorities on March 1, 2003.
He said the FBI had already been looking into JI because of threats of an attack on the U.S. embassy in Singapore in 2001.
Patek's name was quickly known by the FBI after the Bali attacks, Pellegrino said.
"A very famous sketch was drawn of what he looked like," he told the court. "We realized pretty quickly it was Jemaah Islamiyah," he added.
Pellegrino said he had many discussions with Indonesian police following the Bali attacks about Patek's activities in Afghanistan, where the suspected bomb-maker is known to have trained.
"He continued being a terrorist, he continued making bombs and was planning to attack U.S. troops in the Philippines," he testified.
Patek, 45, went on trial in February, charged with murder, bomb-making and illegal firearms possession. Prosecutors say they will push for the death penalty.
Three JI members -- ringleader Imam Samudra and the brothers Mukhlas and Amrozi -- were executed by firing squad in November 2008 for their roles in the Bali bombings.
According to the indictment, Patek was involved in assembling the bombs for the attacks and also strikes on churches in Jakarta on Christmas Eve 2000.
|2012-04-06 Southeast Asia|
|JAKARTA, Indonesia: Four foreign victims of the 2002 Bali bombings testified Thursday in the trial of an Indonesian militant accused of helping to build the massive car bomb used in the terrorist attack.|
Australians Jason McCartney, Peter Hughes and Stuart Anstee and American Steven William Cabler told an Indonesian court how explosives carried in a backpack and a van destroyed two packed nightclubs. The attack was Asias most deadly terror strike and killed 202 people, including 88 Australians and seven Americans.
Umar Patek, 45, a leading member of the Al-Qaeda-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah, was arrested last year in Pakistan. He is the last key suspect to be tried in the Bali bombings and faces a possible death penalty if found guilty of various terror-related and criminal charges.
Prosecutors plan to use the testimonies of the foreign victims to support their sentencing demand.
|2012-03-20 Southeast Asia|
|DENPASAR, Indonesia: Indonesian police shot dead five suspected |
"Last night we have paralyzed five
It was not clear how advanced the preparations for attacks were. Authorities declined to give more details of the threat or say when the attacks were scheduled.
"They have made drawings of these locations as their targets," he told a news conference.
Three people were killed in the beach resort area of Sanur and two in the island's capital, Denpasar, and police said they recovered two rifles, two ammunition magazines, 48 bullets and a balaclava.
In Sanur, witnesses saw pools of blood outside a security guard post and police forensic officers at work behind a police line.
Police earlier said the
"This is an
Australian media quoted another senior police officer as saying it was possible the
The killings follow the beginning of a trial last month of an Islamist militant accused of making the bombs used in the 2002 Bali nightclubs attack.
Umar Patek, who was captured in the same Pakistan town where U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden, is also accused of mixing chemicals for 13 bombs that detonated in five churches in Jakarta on Christmas Eve, 2000, killing about 15 people. Security officials say he belonged to Jemaah Islamiah.
|2012-03-15 Southeast Asia|
|Philippine authorities are trying to verify reports that a kidnapped Indian national was executed by the Abu Sayyaf on the southern province of Sulu where the |
Antonio Freyra, the Sulu provincial police chief, said Biju Kolara Veetil, 36, was reported to have been killed by his captors despite ransom paid to the Abu Sayyaf by his Filipina wife. Freyra said, "We have intelligence reports about this but need to get a confirmation from his wife or find his body."
Veetil and his wife were visiting the womans family when four gunmen seized the foreigner in June last year. Freyra said the womans family had paid at least P800,000 to the Abu Sayyaf for Veetils safe release, but the
He said a Malaysian gecko trader - Mohammad Nasaruddin Bensaidin who had also been kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf in April last year, was released after a local negotiator paid ransom. The kidnappers had originally demanded P5 million ransoms for Bensaidin's safe release.
The 38-year old Malaysian arrived in Sulu in April last year from Kuala Lumpur and had been living in a house in the village of Kajatian in Indanan town when he was kidnapped. Freyra said, "We are trying to locate the negotiator and get details of the release of Mohammad, but we cant trace him anymore."
He said another Japanese hostage, Katayama Mamaito, 63, is still in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf. Mamaito, a treasure hunter, was kidnapped in June 2010 on the island-town of Pangutaran.
The Abu Sayyaf is also holding two fishermen, Renato Panisales and Wennie Ferrer employees of the Mega Fishing Corporation in Zamboanga City after they were seized at sea off Sulu in March last year. Their companion, Jonald Ocsimar, was set free in July after his family paid P300,000 ransom.
Another faction of the Abu Sayyaf is still holding an Australian citizen, Warren Rodwell, 52, in the province of Basilan, after he was kidnapped in December last year from his seaside home in Zamboanga Sibugay province. The kidnappers have demanded $2 million ransom for his release, but his Filipino wife said they cannot afford to pay. Rodwells fate remains unknown.
|2012-02-28 Southeast Asia|
|Indonesia's Supreme Court has reimposed a 15-year jail term on Islamist cleric Abu Bakar Bashir for terrorist acts. Bashir was originally sentenced to 15 years in jail, but on appeal the High Court slashed it to nine, citing lack of evidence and old age. The court ruling reversed that earlier decision.|
When receiving his 15-year jail sentence by a lower court last year, Bashir rejected that verdict as the work of the devil, demonstrating to his followers that he believes the rule of law as enshrined in the country's secular, democratic constitution does not apply to him.
The United States last week officially labelled the Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) group, founded by Bashir in 2008, a foreign terrorist organization, linking it to several attacks in Indonesia.
|2012-02-19 Terror Networks|
|A top Indonesian terror suspect captured in the Pak town where was later killed insists he was unaware of the al-Qaeda leader's presence there, according to the video of his interrogation obtained by The .|
|2012-02-19 Terror Networks|
|A top Indonesian terror suspect captured in the Pakistani town where Osama bin Laden was later killed insists he was unaware of the al-Qaeda leader's presence there, according to the video of his interrogation obtained by The Associated Press.|
Alleged master bomb maker Umar Patek also described his frustration in re-establishing militant ties in his quest to go to Afghanistan and fight American soldiers. His remarks, if true, would further bolster evidence that Southeast Asia's Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist movement, responsible for the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings, is now largely cut off from its long-standing al-Qaeda sponsorship, thanks in part to a relentless crackdown that has largely decimated their ranks. (AP)
|2012-02-12 Southeast Asia|
A transcript of the Umar Patek's interrogation obtained by The Associated Press offers extraordinary detail of the Bali plot just days before Patek -- a radical once Southeast Asia's most-wanted bomb-making suspect -- goes on trial in Jakarta for his alleged role in the nightclub attack that killed 202 people.
Patek, known as "Demolition Man" for his expertise with explosives, says he and other conspirators stashed the 1,540-pound (700-kilogram) bomb in four filing cabinets, loaded them in a Mitsubishi L300 van along with a TNT vest bomb. The van was detonated outside two nightclubs on Bali's famous Kuta beach on Oct. 12, 2002. Most of those killed were foreign tourists.
Although homemade bombs are easily assembled by militants all over the world, making such powerful devices as those used in Bali -- and using such unsophisticated equipment -- would have taken enormous amount of care and expertise.
Patek, 45, goes on trial Monday following a nine-year flight from justice that took him from Indonesia to the Philippines to Pakistan, reportedly in pursuit of more terrorism opportunities. He was finally caught in January 2011 in the same Pakistani town where US Navy Seals would kill Osama Bin Laden just a few months later.
Patek is charged with premeditated murder, hiding information about terrorism, illegal possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit terrorism, and now faces a possible death sentence as well. The indictment also accuses Patek of providing explosives for a string of Christmas Eve attacks on churches in 2000 that claimed 19 lives.
Interviews with intelligence officials in Indonesia and the Philippines, the interrogation report and other documents obtained by the AP reveal the peripatetic life Patek led after the Bali attacks as he ranged widely and freely, often without passing through immigration checks, while allegedly passing along his bomb-making skills to other terrorists.
Patek, whose real name is Hisyam bin Alizein, is the son of a goat meat trader. He went to computer school and learned English before being recruited into Jemaah Islamiyah by Dulmatin, a fellow militant who was gunned down by Indonesian police in March 2010.
After his arrest, Patek told his interrogators that he learned to make bombs during a 1991-1994 stint at a militant academy in Pakistan's Sadda province, and later in Turkhom, Afghanistan, where bomb-making courses ranged "from basic to very difficult."
He said he was living in Solo, Indonesia, when mastermind Imam Samudra approached him to make a bomb in Bali. He agreed and flew to Denpasar, Bali's capital, and was taken to a rented house.
"In one room of the house, I began to mix the explosive ingredients, which were already in the rental house," he said. "For about three weeks, I made the explosive ingredients into black powder with the assistance of Sawad (a co-conspirator). For tools used in the mixing of the ingredients, I used (a) scale that will usually be used in a food store, rice ladle and plastic bags as containers."
Dulmatin separately worked on the electronic circuits, which were later attached as detonators to the bombs packed into the filing cabinets.
"When we were lifting the filing cabinets into the white L300 van, an explosion occurred which was caused by friction of the filing cabinet with the floor of the room, because the floor still had some leftover black powder on it," he said.
Patek left Bali a few days before the attacks were carried out.
Afterward, officials said, Patek and Dulmatin went to the Philippines and allegedly joined forces with the local extremist group Abu Sayyaf, spending the next several years training militants and plotting attacks, including against US troops in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Imam Samudra and two other masterminds of the Bali attacks -- brothers Amrozi Nurhasyim and Ali Ghufron -- were caught, tried and executed.
Patek returned to Indonesia in June 2009, living in various rented houses in Jakarta. He held several meetings with radicals and aspiring militants at home and held assault rifle and bomb-making training sessions at a beach in Banten near Jakarta.
But Patek's heart was set on going to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taleban or other extremist groups, said Ansyaad Mbai, Indonesia's anti-terrorism chief. He told the AP that Patek intended to continue his fight in a more defined battleground with a larger radical group, and refused Dulmatin's offer to become an instructor in a new militant camp in Indonesia's Aceh province.
"He wanted to fight with a larger extremist group, and Afghanistan was the ideal battleground for him," Mbai said.
But to reach Afghanistan, he would have to go to Pakistan first. A police investigator said that a 37-year-old Pakistani in Indonesia, Nadeem Akhtar, helped Patek get a Pakistani visa from his embassy in Jakarta.
Mbai did not rule out the possibility that Patek went to Abbottabad to not only gain a foothold into Afghanistan but also to obtain funds for setting up a militant training camp in Jolo in southern Philippines. But before he could make much progress or meet Bin Laden, he was caught.
Patek's trial not only seeks justice for the Bali bombings, but also is a coup for intelligence officials. He is believed to have valuable information about Al-Qaeda and its links with Jemaah Islamiyah, which was founded by Indonesian exiles in Malaysia in the early 1990s.
The Bali bombing remains JI's most spectacular attack. Though there have been several others since, but none as deadly. Analysts credit a crackdown that has netted more than 700 militants since 2000, including the death of several key leaders in police action.
|2012-02-03 Southeast Asia|
|[An Nahar] Philippine authorities said Thursday they had failed to find two European birdwatchers in the crucial 24 hours after their abduction and warned Islamic may be holding them.|
Hundreds of Marines quickly joined the search for Swiss national Lorenzo Vinciguerra, 47, and Dutchman Ewold Horn, 52, who were seized by on a tiny island in the lawless south of the country on Wednesday.
"There is a massive search-and-rescue operation right now to find the kidnappers and their captives," regional military Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang told Agence Presse.
"Though, as of the moment, we have not pinpointed their exact location."
Cabangbang said it remained unclear who the men, but noted a spate of other kidnappings of foreigners in the south that were blamed on the al-Qaeda-linked group.
"We cannot rule out the possibility that the Abu Sayyaf is involved," he said. " I must stress there are other s, including pirates, who also operate in these waters."
Ivan Sarenas, a Filipino guide for the two wildlife enthusiasts, was also kidnapped, but said he managed to jump off a boat that was taking the men away.
"There was a passing boat and I decided to go for it. I held the barrel of the long firearm of the man in front of me with one arm and jumped out," he told AFP by phone.
Cabangbang said the first 24 hours were crucial in deciding the fate of people kidnapped in the area because this was when they were typically taken into the abductors' rugged jungle lairs on remote islands.
|2012-02-03 Southeast Asia|
|On Friday, the Philippine military said it has not been able to gather proof that it killed three of Southeast Asia's most-wanted terrorists, but insisted the trio had died in a US-backed airstrike.|
Lieutenant Colonel Arnulfo Burgos said troops were sent to the isolated jungle area where Thursday's bombing took place on the remote southern island of Jolo, but did not find the bodies. He said the three senior leaders from the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) networks, as well as 12 others, had been taken away by fellow
However he said the military was certain the trio had been killed based on intelligence assets. He said, "Yes, its an A-1 (information). We have something but we cannot divulge all the other information because its an operational (secret)."
Burgos said Friday that security forces were confident of finding the bodies of the slain leaders, or at least evidence that would allow DNA confirmation. But efforts to search the remote jungle location were hampered by gunfire from the surviving
The US military helped in Thursday's attack by providing intelligence support, according to military officials. Spokespeople at the US embassy in Manila did not comment on Thursday's attack, referring all questions to the Philippine military.
|2012-02-02 Southeast Asia|
|At least 15 Islamic |
Zulkifli is a Malaysian leader of Jemaah Islamiyah>Jemaah Islamiyah, an explosive expert, and the over-all leader of the JI in the Philippines, said military spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos. The US government has offered $5 million and P7.4 million reward for Zulkifli's capture.
Muawiyah, who goes by many aliases, is a Singaporean member of JI who fled to the Philippines shortly after the Bali bombings, according to a Philippine military intelligence source. He was a former member of the Singaporean military with the rank of Major. He was also a JI member affiliated with the Abu Sayyaf and had contact with Omar Patek, Burgos said. The US offered a $50,000 reward for his arrest.
Jumdail, a member of the Tausug ethnic group, is a founder and one of the top figures of the Abu Sayyaf group. He had warrants of arrest for 21 counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention and was involved in the 2000 kidnapping in Sipadan, Malaysia and the 2001 kidnapping in Dos Palmas resort in Palawan.
In a press briefing, Burgos said that the composite unit with elite troops from the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy and the Philippine Air Force first launched an air strike in Barangay Duyan Kabau, Parang town in Sulu to "soften the target" at around 3 a.m. Thursday. That attack lasted for only a few seconds before troops stormed the terror group's temporary camp, Burgos said.
The air strikes were conducted following tips from civilians that there were Abu Sayyaf and JI members in the area. Burgos said there were also reports that 30 terrorists, including six foreign JI members, arrived in Sulu last December.
Burgos said that no civilians were hurt in the operations, saying that this was a "thorough and deliberate" operation done after "months of intelligence gathering." Burgos added, "We want to assure the people of Sulu that the operation conducted was aimed against known members of the terrorist groups--Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah-- who intends to expand their presence in Mindanao."
|2012-01-15 Southeast Asia|
|Philippine authorities have expanded Thursday their search for kidnapped Australian man Warren Rodwell in the Muslim provinces of Basilan and Sulu. Police have received reports that Rodwell, 53, was taken back to Basilan province after failing to merge with another Abu Sayyaf faction under terrorist leader Radulan Sahiron in Sulu.|
Sahiron is reported to be ill and did not want to take Rodwell into his custody in the province where security forces are also battling Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya.
Basilan's police chief said the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers led by Radzmier Alih returned to the province late on Tuesday on a speedboat and landed in Sumisip town. Alih is a sub-leader of the notorious terrorist commander Puruji Indama.
Senior Superintendent Alexis Lineses said, "On January 10, Australian kidnapped victim Rodwell and his captors, Abu Sayyaf's Radzmier Alih, of Basilan and some few men left the coastal line of Sitio Bual Nagka in the village of Lumapid in Talipao town in Sulu aboard a jungkong fast motorboat, believed to be heading back to Sumisip in Basilan,"
"The reason for the transfer were the pressure from the police and military operations and the leaked of information of their presence in Sulu, as well as the unpreparedness of Radulan Sahiron to receive Rodwell in Patikul. We are evaluating these reports."
The military has received similar reports, and has ordered security forces to step up its intelligence and operations against Abu Sayyaf in Sulu and Basilan. Army Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, said, "We are intensifying our operations -- both on the grounds and information gathering -- and we are now concentrating our efforts to locate Warren Rodwell."
Military authorities also distributed to soldiers photo copies of a picture of Indama, who is said to be holding Rodwell in Basilan.
Abu Sayyaf militants are also holding a kidnapped Japanese man, an Indian national and two Malaysians and several Filipinos in the Sulu Archipelago.
Philippine authorities have admitted the presence of Jemaah Islamiya terrorists in Sulu province. Lieutenant General Raymundo Ferrer, military chief in Western Mindanao, said they have identified 5 Jemaah Islamiya members who are being protected by the Abu Sayyaf.
He said the terrorists -- Qayim, Mauiya, Marwan, Saad and Amin Baco -- are being tracked down by security forces. Mauiya was one of the terrorists who held three members of the International Committee of the Red Cross -- Italian Eugenio Vagni, Swiss Andreas Notter and Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba who were kidnapped in 2009. The trio was freed after private negotiators allegedly paid a huge ransom to the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya.
|2011-11-28 Southeast Asia|
|[Emirates 24/7] A powerful blast killed at least 3 people and 27 others in a budget hotel packed with wedding guests in the southern Philippines, officials said Monday.|
The , suspected to have been caused by a bomb, ignited a fire that gutted the two-story Atilano Pension House in downtown Zamboanga city late Sunday.
The blast was so powerful it caused much of the second floor to collapse, blew off the hotel roof and shattered glass panes and windows from nearby buildings, Zamboanga city Mayor Celso Lobregat said.
Two of the were in a hospital, he said.
Zamboanga, a bustling city where U.S. counterterrorism troops are based, has been hit by deadly bombings blamed on al-Qaeda-linked in the past.
The blast occurred in room 226 on the second floor of the hotel, instantly killing two people staying in two adjacent rooms, which were devastated by the blast. A third body was found dead Monday on the ground floor, pinned by the cement slabs that collapsed from above.
Initial investigation pointed to a bomb, Lobregat said, adding that he has asked Zamboanga residents to stay calm.
"We should not show that we're panicking because that is what these troublemakers relish to see," Lobregat told The by telephone. "We have good leads; we will get all of them."
|2011-11-20 Home Front: Culture Wars|
Words and ideas matter. Whether we're aware of them or not, the ideas we absorb shape our lives and our choices in deep ways.
Often the ideas we form start with the stories we hear, like this very ancient one:
At the beginning of things, YHWH took a handful of mud and formed a creature. Bending down, he came close, so intimately close that his breath flowed into the nostrils of the creature and Adam ("made of earth") truly lived....
Many centuries later an exile, looking back on his experiences through the lens of his education both in the commentaries of the children of Israel and also of the Greek philosophers, wrote a book with an audacious claim:
En arche en ho logos, kai ho logos en pros ton theon, kai theos en ho logos.
In those few words John packed layers of meaning. Arche means beginning of time, but also can be used to indicate social or legal prominence, power, causation.
Logos, too, carried layers of meaning: spoken word, the word of God through his prophets and by which He created. (It is significant that, unlike the seers of surrounding cultures, Hebrew prophets were not seized by ecstatic trances. Instead they heard YHWH speak intelligibly -- and sometimes argued back.)
But logos also meant 'meaning' itself, the truth behind words, the patterns and connections that raise the world from being a chaos of unpredictability to having purpose and resonance. And finally, John's readers who were educated in Greek learning would remember that the great Euclid used logos to describe the means by which things which are otherwise different in their very natures, such as number and space -- or God and man - could be brought into relationship with one another.
In the beginning (of time, of precedence, of causation) was the Logos (the word, the meaning, what makes meaning possible, what can bring us into relationship with what is otherwise totally beyond our power to reach). And that Logos was with God -- and that Logos was God.
That was John's claim. And so Christian theology was from its start grounded both in the stories of a very personal YHWH - a God who got his hands dirty and was intimately bound to his people in a complex and dramatic story of promise, suffering, fulfillment, disobedience, renewal -- and also in the challenge posed by Greek thought which celebrated human reason and sought to understand the very roots and heights of what is. Nor was such a theology entirely new, since there were already Jewish teachers who had pondered related matters with sophistication and devotion.
It is both the personally related God and the God of meaning, Robert Reilly tells us, that Islam rejected, with consequences that are playing out today.
The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Islamist Crisis chronicles the encounter of Islam with Hellenistic thought and Christian theology. Islam committed intellectual suicide, he writes, when those who sought to apply reason to theology were ultimately suppressed in favor of strong assertions that Allah was unknowable, utterly transcendent, arbirtrary in his demands and not subject in any way to human understanding -- only to obedience.
Hence this hadith:
The Holy Prophet said: Allah created Adam when he created him. Then He stroke his right shoulder and took out a white race as if they were seeds, and He stroke his left shoulder and took out a black race as if they were charcoal. Then He said to those who were on his right shoulder: Towards paradise and I don't care. And He said to those who were on his left shoulder: Towards Hell and I don't care.
Al-Ghazali and others used such passages to insist that God is not obligated in any way, including by his own nature. We must call him just, but he is not bound by any notion we might have of what justice entails. Philosophy has no place in theology, nor can the world be understood by it. Allah is, first, foremost, and totally, transcendent. Allah is pure will. He acts as he chooses, without limit. We cannot understand. We can only obey.
Reilly quotes many contemporary Muslim thinkers who are very aware of the disastrous results of such thinking in the Arab and broader Muslim world today: rejection of science, justification for despotism, a disconnect with reality, the inability to relate cause and effect.
One need not be a believer in any religious tradition for this book to be an important one to read. In this review I've fleshed out a few elements of Jewish and Christian thought that Reilly assumes, and highlighted only a small portion of the substantial evidence he assembles regarding the rejection of meaning that came to dominate Islam.
Nor is this merely a historical concern. The spiritual leader of Egypt's terror group Jemaah Islamiyah is quoted as specifically emphasizing the central importance in Islam of the concept of al-fikr kufr: by the very act of reasoning one becomes an infidel. Or, as Taliban placards in Afghanistan proclaim, "Throw reason to the dogs - it stinks of corruption."
But doctrine is one thing and daily life is another. Although many Muslims are poor and illiterate, others in the Islamic world who hear sermons about al-fikr kufr increasingly navigate a world filled with the products of science, the debates of reason and political systems in which the meaning of justice is a lively concern. Reilly quotes modern Muslims who call for a renewal of Islamic theology and a modern synthesis of faith with elements that were forced out centuries ago. Our media are full of stories about those who are chosing to cling ever more tightly to the abyss, instead.
|2011-10-14 Southeast Asia|
|An Indonesian |
Abu Tholut is among more than 120 alleged members of "Tanzim Al Qaeda in Aceh" captured or killed since the authorities found their paramilitary training camp in Aceh province early last year.
Judge Musa Arif Aini told the court that the 50-year-old firearms expert helped set up the camp and obtain M-16 assault rifles and other weapons for the group. He said, "It has been proven legally and he is convincingly guilty of committing criminal and terrorist acts."
Tholut, also known as Mustofa, was arrested last December. Police said he went to Afghanistan in the late 1980's before returning to Asia to train with Jemaah Islamiah (JI).
Tholut became one of Indonesia's most-wanted fugitives after Noordin Top and Dulmatin - master bomb makers for JI - were killed in police raids last year. He was convicted for involvement in a 2001 bomb blast at a shopping plaza in central Jakarta that wounded six. He served five years of an eight-year sentence and was released for good behavior. But like so many other convicted extremists in Indonesia, he went back to his terrorist network after his release.
|2011-10-03 Southeast Asia|
JAKARTA - The Indonesian authorities said yesterday that they have captured one of their five most-wanted militants in connection with two suicide-bomb attacks this year.
The suspect, identified as Beni Asri, was arrested on Friday at his home in the town of Solok in West Sumatra, about 930km from the capital Jakarta, said police spokesman Anton Bachrul Alam.
Asri was brought to Jakarta to be questioned over a suicide bomb attack on a church in the Central Java town of Solo on Sept 25 that injured at least 20 people.
"We have a week to investigate," Mr Alam said.
The 26-year-old is also one of five men wanted for allegedly plotting an April suicide bombing that injured 30 police officers praying in a mosque in the West Java town of Cirebon.
Police suspect Asri has connections with members of a group founded by Abu Bakar Bashir, 73, the spiritual leader behind the 2002 Bali bombings, who was recently jailed for 15 years for planning attacks against foreigners and moderate Muslims, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Indonesia has been hit by a string of suicide bombings blamed on the Al Qaeda-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah and its offshoots since 2002, when the Bali bombings killed 202 people.
Subsequent attacks targeting restaurants and hotels have been far less deadly, however, and the last occurred more than two years ago, thanks in large to a security crackdown. But bombings by solo "jihadis" targeting Christians, security officers and Islamic sects deemed blasphemous by hard-liners have continued.
In a sign of the government's struggle to contain militancy, the authorities have blocked 300 Internet sites this year suspected of promoting terrorism and hatred.
Critics say the President, who relies heavily on Islamic parties in Parliament, has remained largely silent as minorities have been attacked by hard-liners or seen their houses of worship torched or closed. Agencies
|2011-10-03 Southeast Asia|
|JAKARTA - The Indonesian authorities said yesterday that they have captured one of their five most-wanted in connection with two suicide- s this year. |
The suspect, identified as Beni Asri, was on Friday at his home in the town of Solok in West Sumatra, about 930km from the capital Jakarta, said police Anton Bachrul Alam.
Asri was brought to Jakarta to be questioned over a suicide on a church in the Central Java town of Solo on Sept 25 that injured at least 20 people.
"We have a week to investigate," Mr Alam said.
The 26-year-old is also one of five men wanted for allegedly plotting an April that injured 30 praying in a mosque in the West Java town of Cirebon.
Police suspect Asri has connections with members of a group founded by , 73, the spiritual leader behind the 2002 Bali bombings, who was recently for 15 years for planning attacks against foreigners and moderate s, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Indonesia has been hit by a string of s blamed on the Al Qaeda-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah and its offshoots since 2002, when the Bali bombings killed 202 people.
Subsequent attacks targeting restaurants and hotels have been far less deadly, however, and the last occurred more than two years ago, thanks in large to a security crackdown. But bombings by solo "jihadis" targeting Christians, security officers and Islamic sects deemed blasphemous by hard-liners have continued.
In a sign of the government's struggle to contain militancy, the authorities have blocked 300 Internet sites this year suspected of promoting terrorism and hatred.
Critics say the President, who relies heavily on Islamic parties in Parliament, has remained largely silent as minorities have been attacked by hard-liners or seen their houses of worship torched or closed. Agencies
|2011-08-29 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] Police in the southern Philippines say have freed two traders from a week of jungle captivity after a ransom was paid.|
Police say the freed the two in a village in mountainous Patikul town in Sulu province on Sunday near where the killed seven marines in a July 28 clash. Two of the marines , prompting a new military crackdown on the small but brutal Al-Qaeda-linked group.
Police say relatives paid US$2,400 (S$2,900) to secure the release of the Filipino traders. They were snatched on Aug 21 as they were returning home after selling clothes in a marine camp.
The Abu Sayyaf still holds two Americans of Filipino descent, a Filipino midwife, an Indian, a Malaysian and a Japanese who converted to Islam.
|2011-08-19 Southeast Asia|
|MANILA, Philippines: A renegade commander said Thursday he has split from the Philippines largest Muslim rebel group and formed a new group with hundreds of fighters to wage a war for a separate homeland.|
Ameril Umbra Kato said in a cellphone interview from his jungle hide-out in southern Maguindanao province that he would not return to the main Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which has threatened to expel him after he led a mutiny in December.
Kato denied allegations by Philippine security officials that he has links with Al-Qaeda-linked militants in the countrys volatile south and was involved in deadly bombings and terrorist attacks.
He said his new group would be known as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Front (BIFF). Its guerrilla wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, was organized in January, a month after he broke off from the main Muslim guerrilla force over differences with insurgent leaders.
This is the true jihad, the true revolution, Kato said.
Kato, who has about 200 to 300 fighters according to his former comrades, did not give details about his combat force or say what next steps he would take.
Kato, who is in his late 60s, said he left because his former group chose to waste time by deciding to negotiate with the government for expanded autonomy instead of waging a battle for an independent Muslim homeland that would liberate minority Muslims from crushing poverty and neglect.
Weve been going around and around wasting money and look where the peace talks have brought us, Kato said. The roots of the conflict have not been solved.
The infighting within the main 11,000-strong rebel force underscores the complexity of the Muslim unrest that has claimed more than 120,000 lives and stunted growth in the impoverished but resource-rich south of the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines.
The main guerrilla force currently led by Murad Ebrahim split in 1978 from the former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which dropped its secessionist bid for autonomy and signed a landmark peace accord with Manila in 1996. Murads group dropped its bid for independence last year but demanded a more powerful type of autonomy with greater control over wider territory.
Murads group said Kato, who used to head one of its largest and most battle-tested commands, resigned last December, citing his age and poor health. But Kato then formed a breakaway group and accused Murads group of betraying the Muslim cause by going for autonomy instead of independence.
They did that without consulting the Muslims. They cheated, Kato said.
Philippine officials have expressed concern over the infighting, which they say casts doubts about the main rebel groups ability to enforce any future accord in peace talks brokered by Malaysia.
Philippine security officials have accused Kato in the past of providing refuge to members of the Southeast Asian militant network Jemaah%20Islamiyah>Jemaah Islamiyah, the small but brutal Abu Sayyaf group and Filipino militants like Usman Basit who have been sought by US and Philippine authorities in connection with deadly bomb attacks.
They have stained my names with all these allegations of bombing malls and bus terminals, Kato said. These are all big sins and un-Islamic. I have no contact with Al-Qaeda.
Who are the real terrorists? he asked. They are government troops who drop bombs anywhere even if there are civilians.
|[Pak Daily Times] Pakistain is preparing to fly to Indonesia an alleged of the 2002 Bali bombings months after his arrest from Abbottabad, officials said on Wednesday. |
"We have to eventually hand over (Umar) Patek to the Indonesians and practically speaking, it can happen any time. But it is up to the Indonesians to intimate to us when they will take him back," a security official said.
Pakistain confirmed in March the arrest of the most-wanted in Southeast Asia.
"The Indonesian authorities sought time to repatriate Patek as they were occupied in other cases back home," the Pak security official said.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said last week that the alleged coordinator of the 2002 Bali bombings, in which more than 200 people were killed, would be extradited to Indonesia "soon rather than later".
Born in 1970, Patek is a suspected member of the al Qaeda-linked Southeast Asian terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). In addition to the Bali bombings, he is also suspected of involvement in a series of deadly attacks targeting Christians and Westerners in Indonesia dating back to 1999.
|[Dawn] An alleged of the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people will be repatriated soon to Indonesia from Pakistain where he was this year, the foreign minister said Friday.|
The most wanted Islamic in Southeast Asia, Umar Patek, was in March in Abbottabad in Pakistain, the same town where US special forces killed al Qaeda leader just weeks later.
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said the alleged coordinator of the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people would be extradited to Indonesia "soon rather than later".
He told journalists the government wanted to ensure the process "proceeds smoothly" and did not give the alleged terrorist a stage to rally his supporters.
"We do not want to create self-fulfilling, self-creating attention to a person who doesn't deserve publicity," Natalegawa said.
Authorities are continuing to investigate Patek to "ensure that he is held accountable for the crime," which he allegedly committed before Indonesia had a specific anti-terrorism law on its books.
Born in 1970, Patek is a suspected member of the al Qaeda-linked Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
In addition to the Bali bombings, he is also suspected of involvement in a series of deadly attacks targeting Christians and Westerners in Indonesia dating back to 1999.
|2011-07-31 Southeast Asia|
|In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. dispatched a military team to the Philippines to help the Manila government root out militant Islamic extremist groups. The terrorist threat is seen as much diminished since then but still active. The military mission remains in the Philippines as part of the U.S.-led global anti-terrorism campaign.|
Rocky Zeender spent two years on what he calls the forgotten front of the war on terrorism - the Philippines.
"Nobody knows about it. Right now all the funding and all the military support is going into the Middle East. And by no means is the Philippines as large of a front as the Middle East. However, it does provide an enormous safe haven for some radical members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah to come and train in," Zeender said.
As a member of the U.S. Special Forces, a Green Beret, Zeender slogged through the jungles and across mountains of the southern Philippines with Philippine troops from 2008 to 2010 looking for militant Islamist groups, some of whom have had links to al-Qaida.
"You do have some very sporadic cities throughout Mindanao, although it would pretty much resemble any Vietnam movie anyone has ever watched - pretty much nothing but jungle and mountains and rice paddies. I spent most of my time up in the mountains. It was extremely dense jungle, extremely dense forest, very steep terrain, and very difficult to travel, sometimes impossible to travel, by vehicle, only by foot," Zeender said.
The Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines, numbering about 600 men and women from the four U.S. armed services with an annual $90 million budget in the current fiscal year, was created in 2002. Its mission, as the Task Forces website puts it, is to advise and assist Philippine forces to fight terrorism and to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Mindanao.
The Joint Task Forces presence is temporary and its role is strictly advisory. But Zeender says U.S. troops did patrol with military troops and national police, and in doing so did take casualties, including some fatalities, primarily from improvised explosive devices.
"The U.S. military is not allowed to actively target terrorist groups within the Philippines. We were there strictly as advisors. However, if attacked, we do obviously have the right to self-defense, and that did happen under a couple of occasions while I was in the Philippines. And we worked very well with our counterparts," Zeender said.
The vast and rugged Philippine archipelago along with the islands of Indonesia to the south is a perfect refuge for terrorist groups. The primary terrorist groups there are the Abu Sayyaf Group, a separatist group that has long utilized kidnapping for ransom to get funds and hostage beheadings to reinforce its demands, and Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaida ally responsible for several deadly bombings in Indonesia and the Philippines. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front has officially broken with al-Qaida and has had a series of on-again, off-again ceasefires with the Philippine government as it tries to reach a peace settlement but radical members of the group remain militarily active.
Emile Nakhleh, former chief of the CIAs political Islam strategic analysis unit, says the jihadist groups influence in the region is weakening.
"There are still some very nasty elements. But the countries in Southeast Asia and the publics have basically - especially their publics - are rejecting this whole rhetoric of terrorism and the whole radical narrative that has been the hallmark of global terrorism. And so they are definitely on the wane," Nakhleh said.
However, in January a bus bombing in Manila was blamed on the Abu Sayyaf. In June, Philippine security forces went on alert for possible terrorist bomb attacks in Manila. The attacks never materialized. But the island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago remain dangerous. On July 12 two American citizens and a Filipino relative were kidnapped in Zamboanga City on Mindanao.
Zeender believes progress against Philippine-based terrorist groups remains elusive without a deeper U.S. commitment in the Philippines.
"Weve lost some members of my old unit actually down there. And I dont really see any gains being made. There seems to be one hand in the pot, and were not really fully committing. And I believe it would be almost kind of a stalemate. Were not really gaining any ground or affecting anything on a large international level. However, we are helping the Philippine government and some of the locals. But on an international scale, as far as eliminating the threat of terror, were sort of stalemating it," Zeender said.
But the issue of a U.S. troop presence is a sensitive one in the Philippines. The 1987 Philippines constitution bars foreign military bases from the country, and the U.S. bases were closed after Philippine Congress voted in 1991 not to extend the base leases. However, the two countries still hold joint military exercises. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed the U.S. defense commitment to the Philippines in June amid rising tensions between Manila and Beijing over disputed islands in the South China Sea.
|[Dawn] An alleged of the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people will be sent to Indonesia after being in Pakistain in March, a senior counter terrorism official said Monday.|
"Pakistain has delivered a message early July that they will send Umar Patek to Indonesia," National Anti-Terror Agency (BNPT) deputy chief Tito Karnavian told s.
Jakarta's foreign and justice ministries are now working to process Patek's deportation, he said.
Indonesian counter-terrorism police have been tracking Patek for years. One of the most wanted Islamic in Southeast Asia, he has a $1 million bounty on his head under the US government's "Rewards for Justice" programme.
Born in 1970, Patek was allegedly the field coordinator for the massive s that flattened nightclubs on Bali, killing 202 people, and placed mainly Indonesia on the front lines of the global battle against militancy.
Patek is a suspected member of Al-Qaeda-linked Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), blamed for a series of deadly bombings targeting Christians and Westerners in Indonesia dating back to 1999.
|2011-07-18 Southeast Asia|
|[An Nahar] The kidnappers of an American woman, her son and Filipino nephew in the southern Philippines have telephoned their family by phone demanding a ransom, officials said Sunday.|
At least 14 seized Philippine-born U.S. citizen Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, her 14-year-old son and 19-year-old nephew Tuesday from a relative's house they were visiting in a village near southern Zamboanga City. They were taken away at gunpoint on board a motor boat, officials said.
Kidnappings for ransom have long been a problem in the impoverished region and are blamed mostly on the al-Qaeda-linked , a group also notorious for beheadings and bombings.
U.S.-backed offensives have weakened the group, which is blacklisted by Washington as a terrorist organization, but it remains a key security threat.
Asked about the reported ransom, Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat said without elaborating that U.S. authorities have told Philippine officials the kidnappers called the captives' family and demanded money.
Lobregat declined to disclose other details, including if the kidnappers identified their group or if they allowed the captives to talk to their family.
"There was a call to the family, and a demand was made," Lobregat said.
Regional police commander Felicisimo Khu Jr. said were aware of the ransom demand.
Lunsmann, a 41-year-old veterinarian who lives in Virginia, was born to a family in a village not far from where she and her son were vacationing with relatives when they were snatched, Khu said.
She was adopted by an American couple as a child and grew up in the United States. She has visited her Philippine home province at least five times before the kidnappings, Khu said.
Khu said authorities suspect the captives were being held in the island province of Basilan across a strait from Zamboanga City by under Abu Sayyaf commanders Nurhassan Jamiri and Puruji Indama, who have been blamed for past kidnappings and beheadings.
The captives could also be in nearby Zamboanga Sibugay province, where the actual kidnappers, believed to be former rebels from another group, are based. The kidnappers reportedly turned over their captives to the Abu Sayyaf, Khu said, citing intelligence.
|2011-06-28 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] A FORMER town mayor in the strife-torn southern Philippines was on Monday in a brazen attack that also badly his wife, police said.|
Najib Maldisa suffered six bullet wounds to his body and died as he was being rushed to hospital after the attack in Zamboanga city on Mindanao island, national police Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said.
His wife was in a serious condition, Mr Cruz said.
No group has for the attack, but police said the motive could be local political rivalry.
Maldisa was formerly the mayor of Maimbung town, on nearby Jolo island, a known stronghold of and other local armed gangs.
Political rivalry among clans are common in many parts of the southern Philippines, where a proliferation of unlicensed firearms has complicated decades of insurgency.
|2011-06-18 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN footage of terrorist detainee Mas Selamat Kastari, 50, being recaptured two years ago in Kampung Tawakal in Skudai, Johor, will be shown on television this month.|
Mas Selamat: The Fugitive Terrorist chronicles the manhunt for the Singapore head of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) regional terrorist group after his 2008 escape from detention in Singapore.
The documentary will air on Crime & Investigation Network (StarHub Channel 403) on June 30.
The exclusive footage was obtained by director Ahmad Yazid, 27, and executive producer Lydia Lubon, 32, who produced the show under their Malaysian-based production company Rack Focus Films.
They pitched the idea to cable TV channel provider AETN All Asia Networks and started the project in March last year.
'The angle was about the pay-off of tracking down and finally arresting Asia's most-wanted ,' said Ms Lubon over the telephone from Kuala Lumpur.
|2011-06-17 Southeast Asia|
|[An Nahar] An Indonesian court on Thursday radical Islamist for 15 years for funding a terrorist group that was planning attacks against Westerners and .|
The 72-year-old preacher showed little emotion as Judge Herri Swantoro read out the guilty verdict and sentence at the end of a four-month trial in the South Jakarta district court.
"Abu Bakar Bashir has been proven guilty of planning and misleading other people to fund terror activities ... and is sentenced to 15 years in jail," the judge said, triggering a gasp from the 's supporters in the court.
Draped in his customary white robes and skull-cap, the man seen as the spiritual leader of regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah immediately promised to appeal the sentence, which he called the work of the devil.
"This is haram (forbidden in Islam). I reject this because it is cruel and disregards Islamic sharia law. This ruling is by the friends of the devil and it is haram for me to accept it," he said in response to the judge.
About 500 erupted into shouts of " " (God is great) outside the court as the verdict was read. Some 3,000 police backed by armored vehicles and snipers were on hand in the event of violence.
"This trial was a joke. They haven't looked for the truth, they only want to serve the interests of the current political power," said a for Bashir's radical organization, Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT).
Prosecutors had demanded a 20-year life sentence for Bashir, who was found guilty of channeling about $50,000 to a terrorist cell that was conducting military-style training in Aceh province in 2009.
Police say the so-called al-Qaeda in Aceh group, which was discovered in February last year, was planning s and Mumbai-style attacks by highly trained suicide .
Bashir had been facing the death penalty for providing illegal weapons to the group but authorities dropped those charges early in the proceedings. The court also acquitted him of a charge of possessing illegal weapons.
He rejects all allegations of materially supporting terrorists, while publicly exhorting his followers to wage jihad or "holy war" against the West and Indonesia's form of secular, democratic government.
For decades the frail but pugnacious preacher has agitated in mosques, Islamic schools and through radical groups such as JAT, which he established in 2008, for the creation of an Islamic state under strict sharia law.
Several JAT members are under arrest and have implicated Bashir in the Aceh cell, which was operationally led by Dulmatin, one of Southeast Asia's most until he was killed in a police raid in March last year.
Bashir told s before the sentencing session began that he was being framed by Australia and the United States, a claim he has repeated throughout his trial.
"They want me to disappear from Indonesia... The benefit to them? To kill Islam, to kill defenders of Islam, and killed without reason," he said.
Police have tightened security at shopping centers across the sprawling city and deployed extra personnel following threats of s in the event of Bashir's conviction.
Indonesia has been rocked by a series of attacks by Jemaah Islamiyah and its offshoots, including bombings of tourist spots on Bali, the Australian embassy and luxury Jakarta hotels.
Bashir served almost 26 months behind bars over the 2002 Bali bombings but his conviction was overturned after his release in 2006.
Prosecutors have also unsuccessfully charged him with involvement in church bombings in 2000 and an attack on the Marriott hotel in Jakarta in 2003.
Analysts said Bashir's jailing would not reduce the threat in Indonesia, the world's most populous -majority country and a key U.S. ally in Southeast Asia.
"A new leader will try to prove he's worthy by launching a big attack of some sort," said University of Indonesia expert Andi Widjajanto.
|2011-06-09 Southeast Asia|
|[An Nahar] Malaysia's police chief said Wednesday an Indonesian businessman had been held under the country's tough security laws for recruiting for regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).|
Police officials on Tuesday said Abdul Haris Syuhadi, 63, had been over the weekend at his home in central Selangor state under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for alleged terrorism activities.
Ismail Omar said police had monitored Abdul Haris and he was found to have been spreading JI ideology and actively recruiting members for the terror group, which has links to al-Qaeda, since 2002, state media reported.
"I confirm his detention. I believe his activities can endanger national security and we will take appropriate action," Ismail said without elaborating.
JI, a Southeast Asian terror outfit, is blamed for a string of attacks in the region, including the 2002 Bali bombings in which 202 people were killed, many of them foreign tourists.
Activist group Abolish ISA Movement, known by its Malay-language acronym GMI, has condemned the arrest, saying Abdul Haris was a petty trader who sold scarves and textiles.
GMI said it was the ninth arrest under the ISA this year. Rights groups say there are currently 29 individuals being held under the ISA.
Last month, authorities deported a Singaporean businessman who had been under the security law on suspicion of channeling funds to aid a Philippine Islamist group.
The ISA, which dates back to the British colonial era, when it was used against communist s, has been used against government opponents as well as suspected terrorists.
|2011-06-07 Southeast Asia|
|[Al Jazeera] A prominent Indonesian facing life in prison on terrorism charges has rejected the trial as outside Islamic law.|
, who is accused of helping set up and fund a "terror" training camp in Indonesia's Aceh province, claimed his innocence on Monday in a final court appearance before the announcement of the verdict.
Bashir, 72, denies involvement with the training camp but has repeatedly defended it as legal under Islam.
The told a Jakarta court that the case against him was fabricated and witnesses that testified by teleconference were doing so under pressure and so their testimonies could not be trusted.
Citing verses from the Koran, Bashir said he rejected the trial as counter to Islam.
Prosecutors have sought a life sentence for Bashir, who co-founded the Jemaah Islamiyah network, which is blamed for some of the country's deadliest s.
The group allegedly planned a string of attacks on foreigners and s of moderate leaders, including Susilo Bambang, the country's former president.
Prosecutors say testimony from dozens of witnesses at Bashir's trial proved he not only incited others but also played an active role in terrorist activities.
A panel of five judges is to announce Bashir's verdict on June 16. The maximum penalty for the terror charges is death.
Indonesia, a secular nation of 237 million with more s than any other in the world, has made strides in fighting terrorism since the first Jemaah Islamiyah-linked attack in Bali in 2002, which killed more than 200 people - mostly Western tourists.
But the country still has pockets of fighters who have carried out violent attacks in recent months on minorities and police.
|2011-06-06 Southeast Asia|
|[Asia One] Indonesian police said on Sunday the who two in Central Sulawesi were from an group founded by radical (pictured above).|
"All of them were indicated to be Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) members who had been training or preparing themselves to commit terror acts planned in that region," national police Anton Bachrul Alam told s.
"Their future plans include stealing firearms from Brimob special police force in Central Sulawesi, robbing a bank and carrying out robberies in the villages," he added.
Two men have been over the attack, in which four on s opened fire on police guarding a bank in Palu district last month and two other gang members were killed in a raid in Poso district on Saturday, Alam said.
Three others are still , he added.
The shooting is the latest in a series of recent terror-related incidents including a Good Friday plot to blow up a Jakarta church and a book bomb campaign targeting moderates and counter-terrorism officials.
Bashir, 72, has been accused of providing funding of more than $62,000 to a terrorist group dubbed Al-Qaeda in Aceh that was plotting attacks in Indonesia, and prosecutors have sought a maximum life sentence.
Police say the JAT he founded in 2008 was a front for a new campaign of terrorism in the world's most populous -majority state.
Indonesia is struggling to deal with the threat of homegrown Islamist who oppose the country's secular, democratic system and want to create a caliphate across much of Southeast Asia.
Vicious communal between s and Christians in 2000 and 2001 claimed around 1,000 lives in Poso, and sporadic unrest continued for several years.
|2011-06-01 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] THE Philippine army says five soldiers have been in separate s by suspected Al-Qaeda-linked they were hunting in the south.|
An army said a homemade bomb sprayed shrapnel that hit three Scout Rangers in a village on Basilan island's Sumisip town Monday.
Two Scout Rangers from a separate army unit were in a second in a forested mountain in Sumisip later on Monday.
On Tuesday, he said the special army forces were attacked as they pursued Abu Sayyaf responsible for recent kidnappings.
The says the military is also trying to secure a major Basilan road project from the Abu Sayyaf.
|2011-05-26 Southeast Asia|
|[Asia One] Radical Indonesian on Wednesday to terrorism charges and accused the United States and liberal s of trying to frame him.|
The 72-year-old has been accused of providing funding of more than $62,000 (S$77,338) to a terrorist group dubbed Al-Qaeda in Aceh that was plotting attacks in Indonesia, and prosecutors have sought a maximum life sentence.
But in his formal response to the charges outlined in court last week, the pugnacious preacher said any allegation of terrorism against the Aceh was a plot by the enemies of Islam.
"Prosecutors should realise that all trials which judge and punish the mujahid in Aceh are manipulations by the people who don't follow (Islamic law) to fulfil the interests of the US tyrant and its cronies," he said.
Bashir is seen as a spiritual leader of Southeast Asian s, but he denies any role in terrorist activity.
"Because my rhetoric is considered dangerous, the dream of the US tyrant and its cronies could be realised with a life sentence," he said.
He rejected the prosecution's case that his radical organisation, Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), was a front for terrorist activity.
The bearded admitted he raised money for members of the JAT community but not to pay for weapons and training, as claimed by the prosecution.
Hundreds of Bashir's radical followers chanted " " (God is greatest) outside the court.
Bashir served almost 26 months behind bars for the Bali bombings of 2002 that killed more than 200 people, but his conviction was overturned after his release in 2006.
Prosecutors have also unsuccessfully charged him with involvement in church bombings in 2000 and an attack on the Marriott hotel in Jakarta in 2003.
|2011-05-20 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] INDONESIAN police said on Thursday they were searching for 15 s prepared by a terrorist cell that carried out an attack on a police mosque last month, wounding 30 people.|
Information gathered from suspects in relation to the attack suggested another 15 vest bombs were circulating somewhere in the massive archipelago, police said.
'We are still looking for 15 bombs,' police Anton Bachrul Alam told s in Cirebon, West Java, where the mosque was attacked on April 15.
Twenty-two s had already been seized as part of the ongoing investigation, he said.
Police also released a video made by the bomber, Muhammad Syarif, 32, whom they allege was linked to several networks including Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid, founded by radical
Police have at least 25 suspects linked to Syarif, who was killed instantly when he set off his device in a prayer room at a police compound.
|2011-05-14 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] PHILIPPINE police say Al-Qaeda-linked are believed to be holding a Malaysian trader who was kidnapped on a restive southern island.|
Regional police chief Bienvenido Latag Jr. says informants reported that seized Mohammad Nazarudin bin Saidin on Sunday.
Mr Latag said on Friday that Indanan township police on Jolo island are leading the rescue operation.
Malaysia's consulate in southern Davao city says no group has and no ransom has been demanded for the 38-year-old businessman who was buying geckos in Indanan.
The Abu Sayyaf has been blacklisted by the US as terrorist group involved in bombings, kidnappings and beheadings.
|2011-05-10 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] POLICE in the Philippines say they have captured a with an Al-Qaeda-linked movement in an operation at a Manila shopping centre.|
Busted by mall cops? Dewd!
They say they police intelligence unit Asdatul Sahirun on Sunday at a shopping mall in the capital's Malate tourist district. Sahirun is suspected member of the Philippines' movement.
Authorities have been on alert for possible attacks following killing in Pakistain.
Abu Sayyaf is notorious for bombings, kidnappings and beheadings. It has been blacklisted by Washington as a terrorist organisation. US-backed offensives have hindered its ability to launch attacks.
|[Dawn] Indonesia says its most wanted terrorist suspect was in Pakistain to meet when he was there early this year.|
Umar Patek was in January in Abbottabad, the garrison town where bin Laden was killed by US forces this week.
Patek is suspected in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people. He is deputy commander of al-Qaeda's Southeast Asian affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah.
Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said Wednesday that Patek was in Pakistain with his Filipino wife to meet with bin Laden. Authorities have said they traveled to Pakistain using passports with false names.
Indonesian are trying to bring Patek back to the country.
|2011-04-20 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] A SUICIDE attack at a mosque in an Indonesian last week fits a pattern of 'individual jihad' aimed at local targets by small groups of s, a think-tank said on Tuesday.|
The International Crisis Group (ICG) said a trend was emerging that favoured s over indiscriminate bombings, local over foreign targets and individual or small group action over more hierarchical organisations.
In a new report entitled 'Indonesian Jihadism: Small Groups, Big Plans', the Brussels-based ICG said the two approaches were complementary.
Larger jihadi organisations have the networks and funds to support religious outreach by espousing principles through the media and religious study sessions, the report said.
Groups like regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and hardline Islamic group Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) are placing greater focus on local 'enemies' seen as 'oppressors', including the police, Christians and the minority Islamic sect Ahmadiyah.
ICG senior advisor Sidney Jones said the emergence of small groups undertaking jihad on their own highlighted the urgent need for prevention programmes 'which are virtually non-existent in Indonesia'.
|2011-04-14 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] A SUSPECTED believed to be a liaison between rebels and a Southeast Asian terrorist network was in the restive southern Philippines, officials said on Wednesday.|
Security forces apprehended Abi Pamanay in the central part of Mindanao Island on Tuesday based on an arrest warrant for murder in connection with bombing attacks, said Philippine army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz.
Mr Ortiz accused Pamanay of being a member of the largest separatist group and a 'senior associate' of notorious bomb-maker Abdul Basit Usman, who has been on the run for his alleged links with the Indonesian-based terrorist network Jemaah Islamiah (JI) and the Al-Qaeda-linked group, both blamed for a series of deadly attacks across the region.
Pamanay was being interrogated after his arrest in Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat province, Mr Ortiz said. Other officials were quoted as saying he did not resist arrest and had denied the charges against him.
Usman is a Filipino on the US State Department's list of most-wanted who carries a US$1 million (S$1.2 million) bounty.
Pak military intelligence officers last year claimed that Usman was killed with other in a US drone strike in Pak tribal regions, but a Philippine military official later denied it, saying that Usman had been sighted near southern Maguindanao province.
|2011-04-11 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] ARMY troops have safely defused a powerful bomb outside a school in Basilan province in the southern Philippines. A blast destroyed a lodging house and another explosive was found near a hotel earlier in the same province.|
Army Mr Alex Macario says most likely left the bomb, which was hidden in a biscuit can. It was found by troops Sunday in front of a school compound in Basilan's Lamitan town.
Mr Macario says the military has tightened security after a bomb destroyed a lodging house in the Christian town in predominantly Basilan late Saturday. No injuries were reported.
He says another bomb was found near a hotel in Basilan's capital city of Isabela later.
Washington has blacklisted the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist group.
|[Straits Times] THE main Indonesian suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people was shot and by security forces who him in Pakistain, an Indonesian official said on Thursday.|
Umar Patek, a deputy commander of Al-Qaeda's Southeast Asian affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah, was in Pakistain on Jan 25 after a tip from the CIA, Pak and Indonesian security officials have said.
He was in a firefight that broke out during his arrest, Sutanto, head of Indonesia's intelligence agency, told s in Jakarta.
One of the officers was also hurt, he said.
Pakistain will provide Indonesian consular officials access to Patek so they can confirm his identity, said Pakistain's Foreign Ministry , Tehmina Janjua, during her weekly press briefing Thursday.
The arrest of Patek, who has a US$1 million (S$1.3 million) American price tag on his head, ends a 10-year international manhunt and is a major achievement in the global fight against Al-Qaeda and its offshoots.
|2011-03-22 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] A POLICE official says suspected kidnapped the skipper and two other crew members of a fishing boat then called their company to demand ransom, in the latest reminder of the lingering danger of the battle-crippled terrorist group.|
Police Director Felicisimo Khu Jr. says the three were fishing with other crew members off southern Sulu province Saturday when Abu Sayyaf aboard a motor boat approached and them at gunpoint. The called the captives' fishing company the next day, apparently to demand ransom.
Mr Khu said Monday that the new kidnappings and a recent deadly bombing in Sulu indicate the danger posed by the despite their many battle setbacks and underscore the difficulty of fighting terrorism.
|2011-03-17 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] A TOP Indonesian anti-terror official said on Wednesday that regionalJemaah Islamiyah was behind a series of 'book bombs' in the capital, one of which injured four people. group |
The first bomb, hidden in a hollowed-out thick book, on Tuesday afternoon as police attempted to defuse it.
The package was addressed to Ulil Abshar Abdalla, a well-known liberal figure who espouses pluralism and religious tolerance.
It came with a threatening letter urging Abdalla to write a preface to the book which was entitled 'They Deserved to be Killed: Because of their Sins to Islam and s.'
National Anti-Terror Agency (BNPT) chief Ansyaad Mbai told AFP: 'It's the work of terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) which has been actively launching s in this country.'
JI is a South-east Asian group inspired by Al-Qaeda, which carries out terror attacks to destablise governments in a bid to unite the region into a fundamentalist Islamic state.
|2011-03-11 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] AN INDONESIAN court has ruled to proceed with the trial of a radical Islamic on charges of terrorism.|
South Jakarta District Court Presiding Judge Herri Swantoro said on Thursday that the panel could not accept arguments of defendant and his lawyers that the court has no authority to try him.
Bashir has twice terrorism-related convictions in the past. He has denied the latest charges of leading a terrorist cell that was allegedly preparing high-profile s and attacks on Western hotels and embassies.
Mr Swantoro said the panel found no political motive behind the indictment filed by state prosecutors.
|2011-03-11 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] A POWERFUL blast killed at least five people and three near a school on a southern island in the Philippines on Thursday, a marine general said.|
No has for the attack but a small band of Islamist with close ties to al Qaeda and regional network Jemaah Islamiah (JI) operates on the island, Brigadier General Romeo Tanalgo, marine commander, said.
Since 2004, a small group of US soldiers is based on the island in the south of the mainly Roman Catholic state, helping train local soldiers fight Islamist s.
US-trained army commandos launched attacks on another band of Abu Sayyaf in nearby Sacol island on Thursday, tracking down a rebel leader wanted in the United States.
The Abu Sayyaf, with an estimated strength of about 300 fighters, has been blamed for bombings, kidnappings, and beheadings in the troubled south.
|2011-02-25 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] INDONESIA'S most famous Islamic denies he helped set up, fund and arm a new terror cell in western Indonesia.|
He told judges at the South Jakarta District Court early on Thursday he was the victim of a US conspiracy and that all charges against him have been fabricated.
Hey...it worked the last time.
The 72-year-old imam faces a maximum penalty of death. He was met by hundreds of supporters who packed into the courtroom and gathered outside, shouting 'Allah Akbar!' or 'God is Great!'
Prosecutors say the new terrorist cell uncovered last year in Aceh province had been planning Mumbai-style gun attacks on foreigners in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and the of prominent figures like President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
|2011-02-24 Southeast Asia|
|It was five years before Thailand admitted it had a separatist movement on its handsa well-structured organization consisting of five related groups operating across four provinces. Identifying the leaders proved tricky, although the National Revolutionary Front-Coordinate (BRN-C) can be traced back to the 1960s, and has held the highest profile among southern separatist movements.|
There has also been evidence of links with al-Qaeda and regional terrorist outfits like Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) (although this group is currently in decline). As an example, a series of interviews thought to have been granted by the self-described head of al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia, Abu Ubaidah, talkative until last year but who has since gone quiet.
Whats happening in Pattani isnt an internal conflict, some (fighters) come from the neighbouring country, some come from far away, many thousands of miles, he stated, while encouraging Muslims in Malaysia and Indonesia to join his jihad.
He also said, through a series of Malaysia-based blogs, that the conflict has changed since 2004, when the struggle was based more on nationalistic assertions. Killings that year at the Kerisik Mosque, where over 100 died, and at Tak Bai where at least 85 were killed, had transformed the rebellion.
Now they fight fully and only for Allah, Abu said.
Officials say the first of the five groups under the BRN-C consists of Islamic leaders and teachers. The second group works at the grassroots by occupying administrative positions. A third group is responsible for funding and has found allies among influential local business leaders, according to assistant national police chief Abdul Saengsingkaew.
The Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK), a small guerrilla combat unit, makes up the fourth group. There are an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 RKK troops in the south.
Finally, there is the Permudor, a fifth column of young sympathizers who watch official movements, obstruct police wherever possible, and support RKK fighters. This rabble of teenagers is meant to graduate into the ranks of the RKK over the coming years.
In opposition, the Thai Army has an ambitious plan aimed at recruiting heavily from the southern provincial troops, with these forces expected eventually to be used to quell dissent and resolve issues among the predominantly Malay Muslims.
They are backed by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who has promised to find a solution by establishing a permanent administrative office, a special economic development zone, and through co-operation with Muslim countries.
|2011-02-11 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] THE terrorism trial of a who regularly praises Al-Qaeda's brand of global jihad opened in Indonesia on Thursday amid high security and a surge in sectarian violence that has left three dead.|
Hardline supporters of 72-year-old radical preacher surrounded the south Jakarta court as hundreds of heavily armed police stood by to prevent further outbreaks of mob violence that have shaken Indonesia this week.
The world's most populous -majority country - often praised for its pluralism and tolerance - is still in shock after the gruesome lynching of three members of a minority Islamic sect by an enraged mob on Sunday.
Two days later another mob of Islamic launched an anti-Christian rampage through the streets of Temanggung, also on the main island of Java, in some of the worst religious violence the country has seen for years.
Wearing his customary white robes and religious garb, a grinning Bashir entered the courtroom to chants of 'jihad' (holy war) and ' ' (God is greatest) from his followers. 'I'm fine. Prophet Muhammad was also like me,' he told s.
The trial was quickly adjourned until Monday after the bespectacled 's defence team complained that he had not been given the minimum three-days notice to appear in court.
|2011-02-10 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] INDONESIA will deploy 1,200 police at Thursday's trial of radical who is facing the death penalty for terrorism charges.|
The 72-year-old bespectacled is accused of seven counts of terrorism related to a paramilitary training camp that was discovered last February in Aceh province, court official Supriyantorro said.
Hundreds of Bashir's supporters are expected to rally outside the trial, which gets under way as Indonesia tries to contain a spate of religious violence that has left three people dead and several churches badly damaged.
'Around 1,200 have been readied to go to South Jakarta,' police Boy Rafli Amar said, referring to the district court in the capital where the trial will take place.
'We hope their presence will provide a guarantee for the judges to conduct the trial as best as possible. We hope their presence can deal with whatever situation that might arise, inside or outside the court.' Bashir's charges include 'mobilising people for acts of terror', which carries the death sentence, and financing Islamist s.
Police have said the group was training to carry out Mumbai-style attacks on Western targets and political figures in Jakarta.
|2011-02-03 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] PROSECUTORS have formally charged Indonesia's best-known radical with planning terrorist attacks, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of death.|
the 72-year-old spiritual head of the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network, also was charged with helping fund a new terror cell in Aceh province and mobilising foot soldiers.
Prosecutors presented the indictment Wednesday to the South Jakarta District Court.
They said 138 witnesses will testify at the trial, which is expected to begin next week.
Militants linked to Jemaah Islamiyah have carried out a series of attacks in Indonesia that have killed more than 260 people in less than a decade.
|2011-01-26 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] POLICE have six suspected terrorists, including four teenagers, during a series of raids in central Indonesia.|
Ansyaad Mbai, who heads Indonesia's anti-terrorism agency, says several low-explosive weapons also were seized in the raids on Tuesday.
Indonesia, the world's most populous nation, has battled Islamist with links to the Southeast Asian network Jemaah Islamiyah since 2002, when bombed a nightclub district on Bali island, killing 202 people. There have been at least three deadly attacks across the country since then.
TVOne television reported that among those on Tuesday in the towns of Klaten and Solo were three high school students and one recent high school graduate.
|2010-12-28 Southeast Asia|
|Malaysian universities have become major recruiting grounds for Islamists looking for young supporters. |
Malaysia has been relatively free from terrorism, but its lax admission policies are worrying some. A number of arrests and detentions this year have demonstrated the growing presence of radicals using Malaysia as a base.
"The terror threat to Malaysia is very real in terms of terrorists who come in as students," said Zamihan Mat Zin, deputy head of the Malaysian Islamic Training Centre, "They are under the radar so they can recruit and create terrorists in our midst." Zamihan is part of a group of Muslim scholars engaged by the government to rehabilitate imprisoned terror suspects.
In June, Al-Qaeda-linked Syrian scholar Aiman Al Dakak along with eight other foreigners from Syria, Yemen, Nigeria and Jordan, were deported. Al Dakak gave lectures to students at his home in Kuala Lumpur, indoctrinating them with jihadist ideology and urging them to carry out bombings on places of worship in Malaysia.
In July, engineer Mohamad Fadzullah was detained for trying to recruit students at Malaysia's national university and technical institutes for Jemaah Islamiyah.
After the deportations, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin called the phenomenon an "unhealthy trend which can affect national security".
"Despite the arrests, we believe there are still many who are here now and this process is continuing," said Zamihan, who was given permission to interview the nine deported terror suspects. "Some of these Al-Qaeda operatives who are caught overseas but not prosecuted because of a lack of evidence or a good lawyer, they are able to escape so they then come to Malaysia to study to do a Masters or PhD, but at the same time they are busy recruiting undergraduates."
"Once they have their recruits, whether local or foreigners studying here, they plan regional attacks. Many of them have confessed this," he added.
Kamarulnizam Abdullah, head of national security studies at the National University of Malaysia, says better screening is necessary.
"Our system is very lax and we just accept whoever without thinking of consequences," he said.
Zamihan said the June deportees were Al-Qaeda agents who were quietly trying to resurrect Jemaah Islamiyah.
"They were recruiting locals or even foreigners studying here to radicalise them and create new terrorists," he said.
FBI assistant director for international operations Joseph Demarest has said recently that the FBI was deeply concerned over home-grown radicalism in the Asian region.
"It is the affiliated groups that we are very concerned about... the smaller group, the individuals that we may not know about, these are the top concerns at least for the FBI," he said at a regional security conference in Kuala Lumpur.
|2010-12-11 Southeast Asia|
|[Emirates 24/7] Indonesia has a key Islamist commander for alleged involvement in paramilitary training in Southeast Asia, a move that will reduce the threat of terror attacks in Southeast Asia's largest economy, police said on Friday. |
The capture is the latest in a string of high-profile raids in the past year by Western-trained anti-terror police after deadly bomb attacks on Jakarta hotels in 2009, underlining a potential improvement in security that could help draw foreign investment.
Security experts said Friday's arrest of Mustofa, alias Abu Tholut, one of only a few Islamist leaders captured alive, will help reveal more about Islamic movements and their plans in Indonesia.
"With a series of captures we've had recently, including Tholut, we can press terrorism down in Indonesia," police Iskandar Hasan told .
Mustofa is a firearms expert who went to Afghanistan in the late 1980s before returning to Asia to train group Jemaah Islamiah, a paramilitary camp in Mindanao in the Philippines and recently another camp in Indonesia's Aceh, said Sidney Jones, an expert on security at International Crisis Group in Jakarta.
"He is going to be potentially a very valuable source of information who knows about the exact role of Abu Bakar Bashir as well as the activities of the group in Aceh," she said.
Bashir, said by police to be the leader of al Qaeda in Indonesia, twice terror charges but is now in detention for alleged involvement with the Aceh group.
The Aceh-based group had planned to attack the president, government officials, and state guests attending an independence day event in August, with the aim of declaring Indonesia an Islamic state ruled by sharia law, police have said.
Since bomb attacks in the capital in July last year, blamed on a Jemaah Islamiah splinter group, police have foiled further attacks, and increased stability and a strong economy is expected to draw greater portfolio and direct investment.
|2010-12-02 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] MALAYSIA has Jemaah Islamiyah, a report said on Wednesday. an Indonesian suspect thought to have been a courier for Noordin Mohammad Top, the late bombmaker of terror group |
The Star daily reported that Fadli Sadama, 27, was on Oct 13, quoting an unnamed regional counter-terrorism source. He is accused of involvement in a bank robbery and attempting to smuggle weapons.
Fadli was reportedly involved in an August heist of US$40,000 (S$52,699) from a bank in the Indonesian city of Medan, according to the paper.
It said Fadli was while travelling to Malaysia's southern state of Johor on a bus in possession of two revolvers.
The report said Fadli was planning to use the weapons to attack an Indonesian prison holding Toni Togar, believed to be the of the Medan bank robbery.
Malaysian police could not be reached for comment.
|2010-11-23 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] THE actions of Mas Selamat Kastari's brother Asmom and his family in helping him escape two years ago are not a reflection of the wider Malay- community, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam told Parliament.|
The community, he noted, had disapproved of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) leader's deeds, and took part in the manhunt for him after he broke out of Whitley Road Detention Centre in 2008.
'We should therefore not allow this episode to affect the trust and goodwill that has been built up over the years between our different communities,' he said.
'Instead, this episode should reinforce how important it is for every Singaporean to unite together and assist the security agencies to overcome the threat of terrorism from a small number of persons in our society.'
Mr Shanmugam made these points in a ministerial statement updating the House on ongoing investigations into how the former .
Several MPs sought clarifications that the matter would not affect relations among the various communities.
|A FORMER West Australian jihadist who trained with the Indonesian militant group Jemaah Islamiah and later left Australia for Yemen has resurfaced in Norway.|
He is now at the centre of a heated controversy over the proposed building of a Saudi-funded mosque.
Former Perth man Andrew Ibrahim Wenham has emerged as a central figure in a fiery public debate over construction of a mosque in the small town of Tromso in northern Norway.
The controversy had been inflamed after Wenham's history of jihadist activity in Australia was reported in a front-page expose in a local newspaper, headlined, "Muslim leader involved in terror network".
|2010-10-22 Southeast Asia|
Attacks by this splinter group - two officials were killed and a soldier wounded in an ambush also on Thursday - have added to concerns as talks with the new government have yet to restart. The government of President Benigno Aquino said it had wanted to resume talks with the MILF after the fasting month of Ramadan.
Philippine army intelligence officials said they thought an Islamist
"These rogue rebels, trained under Indonesian militants from Jemaah Islamiah to assemble crude bombs, are hoping to polarise the situation there," said one senior army intelligence official. "They are exploiting the uncertainty in the south due to delays in the peace talks, because most of the younger MILF field commanders are getting restless and impatient."
The police chief for western Mindanao said that the bomb used in the bus bombing - an 81 mm mortar triggered by a mobile phone - resembled devices used by Muslim rebels in similar bus attacks in 2008. "It's a signature bomb of rogue MILF rebels," Khu told reporters, saying investigators were still looking at all possible angles for the attack. "Terrorism is likely the motive."
|2010-10-15 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] THREE suspected members of late terror leader Noordin Mohammad Top's network went on trial in Indonesia Thursday over twin s on two luxury hotels in Jakarta last year.|
Bayu Seno, alias Tono, faces the death penalty if convicted on charges of assembling the bombs used in the July 17 attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, which killed seven people.
'He assisted in an act of terrorism by way of purposely using violence and stirring up an atmosphere of terror and widespread fear,' prosecutor Kiki Ahmad Yani told the West Jakarta district court.
Seno also assisted by buying and transporting s which were to be used in a plot to assassinate Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, he said.
Two Islamic with backpacks filled with homemade bombs blew themselves up at the hotels, marking the bloody end of a four-year hiatus in attacks attributed to Noordin and Al-Qaeda-linked regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah.
In a separate hearing, alleged Islamic Pandu Wicaksono was charged with hiding Noordin at his house in Surakarta district in Central Java in June 2009, prosecutor Iwan Setiawan said. Another suspect, Suramto, is on trial accused of recruiting one of the s and buying s used for the hotel attacks. Both also face the death penalty if found guilty.
|2010-09-30 Southeast Asia|
|A WOULD-be terrorist died after the homemade bomb attached to his bicycle handlebars exploded on Jakarta's outskirts.|
The unidentified 38-year-old was rushed to hospital with face, neck and torso injuries but died within hours. No one else was hurt.
"This is revenge against you, the allies of Satan, who have killed, executed and detained mujahidin (holy warriors)," read the note, shown on Indonesian television.
"We are ready to die for this noble religion.
"This martyr's bomb is for all you infidels.
"We will chase you, even if you run to heaven.
"Your death is certain.
"Mujahidin still lives in Indonesia."
Police sources told local media they believe the man had been targeting a traffic police post but had botched the attack.
Islamic militants killed three Indonesian police officers in North Sumatra last week in apparent retaliation for an earlier police raid that killed three militants.
Police have killed or arrested scores of suspected terrorists since discovering a Jemaah Islamiah-linked terrorist training camp in Aceh in February.
|2010-09-24 Southeast Asia|
| Singapore's government said the suspected leader of the Singapore wing of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group is back in its custody two-and-a-half years after a daring jailbreak.|
The Home Ministry said Mas Selamat Kastari is "currently under investigation" and being held under the country's Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial. Malaysian police deported the suspect Fridaynearly 18 months after capturing him in southern Malaysia.
Mas Selamat had escaped from Singapore's Whitley Road Detention Centre on February 27, 2008 but was arrested in Malaysia's southern state of Johor on April 1, 2009 and detained under Malaysia's Internal Security Act until his repatriation on Friday.
Mas Selamat then fled Singapore in December 2001 after a security operation against Jemaah Islamiyah but was arrested on 3 February 2003 at Tanjung Pinang on the Indonesian island of Bintan.
|2010-08-29 Southeast Asia|
|AaPee writer. Hardliners are conducting an internet campaign (including Facebook) to get Abu Bakar Bashir, the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) released. Naturally, the charges against him- that he set up cells to conduct Mumbai-like attacks on Western targets in Indonesia, are all lies, American plots, and what-have-you.|
|2010-08-12 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] MALAYSIA police said on Wednesday they had detained an Indonesian and two Malaysians for their links to a foreign militant group and for activities that could affect national security.|
Police chief Musa Hassan told state news agency Bernama that Indonesian marketing executive Mustawan Ahbab, 34, Malaysian contractor Samsul Hamidi, 34, and businessman Sheikh Abdullah Sheikh Junaid, 70, had been arrested under the country's tough Internal Security Act.
Bernama's brief report gave no details of which foreign militant group the three were allegedly linked to, and police could not be reached for comment.
Last month, Malaysia confirmed it had arrested a man accused of recruiting students for the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror organisation.
Authorities have said that Islamic militants are trying to revive JI, a South-east Asian terror outfit, by attracting new members from Malaysian universities.
The detentions follow Monday's arrest in Indonesia of radical Islamist preacher Abu Bakar Bashir for his alleged role in terror plots with Al-Qaeda-linked militants.
|2010-08-11 Southeast Asia|
[Straits Times] INDONESIAN police said on Tuesday top radical Islamist preacher Abu Bakar Bashir could face the death penalty over his alleged role in terror plots with Al-Qaeda-linked militants. Bashir, who was arrested on Monday, is accused of funding and training extremists who were planning a wave of attacks in Jakarta.
'Our investigators found evidence that Abu Bakar Bashir had been actively involved in terror plots and activities including the training,' National police spokesman Edward Aritonang said.
Police have arrested 102 terror suspects, of whom 66 were detained, in a series of raids nationwide since discovering the training facility in Aceh, northern Sumatra island.
Mr Aritonang said they found that several Islamic groups from regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) to Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) had also chosen Bashir as the leader for a new terror cell dubbed 'Al-Qaeda in Aceh'.
The cell had planned a series of attacks, including using car bombs, on at least two embassies, several international hotels and the police headquarters in the capital.
And there lies the reason for his arrest. If he had stuck to training terrorist for the export market, they'd have ignored him. When it looks like he's going to boom the homeland, that's when he becomes expendable.
|2010-08-09 Southeast Asia|
|Abu Bakar Bashir, the Muslim cleric and 2002 Bali bombings suspect, has been arrested by Indonesian police for alleged involvement with terrorism. His lawyer, Muhammad Ali, said his client was taken in early today, allegedly for involvement with a new militant network in Indonesia's westernmost province of Aceh.|
Police said Bashir, 71, was arrested by the Indonesian police anti-terrorist taskforce Detachment 88 while travelling from Ciamis in West Java, where he had been attending Koran recitals, to his home in Solo. Bashir is accused of involvement in an Islamic militant training camp uncovered by police in Aceh province in February, said counter-terrorism chief at the security ministry, Ansyaad Mbai.
"He had been involved in terror network in Aceh. As we know, that terror group in Aceh is linked with Jemaah Islamiah and many other extremist groups in our country," Mbai told Agence France Presse. "One of the allegations is that he provided funding to the Aceh military training. It's one of many allegations weighed against him," he added.
In the aftermath of the discovery of the training camp, police claimed to have killed 13 suspects, including the senior Jemaah Islamiah operative and Bali bomber Dulmatin, and arrested more than 60 others. Three members of Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, a group established by Bashir after splitting from the Indonesian Mujahadeen Council two years ago, are already under arrest on suspicion of helping to finance the Aceh operation. Rumours have circulated for weeks that Bashir, a fiery preacher known for propagating hatred against foreigners, was next on the list.
On Saturday, police arrested five suspects and seized high-explosive materials in separate anti-terror raids in several areas in West Java province. The target of the alleged terror plots was not immediately clear, but Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Saturday said police had foiled a terror plot against him as he visited the province.
Wahyudin, the director of Bashir's Al Mukmin Islamic boarding school in Solo, told the Jakarta Globe today that the cleric's wife, Aisyah, might also have been taken into custody. Police were understood to be transporting Bashir to Jakarta and a police press conference was scheduled for this afternoon.
|2010-08-06 Southeast Asia|
|[Arab News] A bomb went off outside an airport in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines on Thursday, killing two people and wounding 24, local officials said.|
US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. condemned the "heinous attack" and canceled his trip to the city on Friday, saying he did not want police resources diverted from the investigation. Washington, he said, was ready to extend any help requested by authorities.
Police said the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device. "There was one man who died on the spot and he could be the one who detonated the explosive device," Celso Lobregat, mayor of the city on Mindanao Island, told reporters after the incident.
He later said another man had died while being treated at a hospital and 24 were wounded. They included Sakur Tan, governor of the southern island of Jolo, a hotbed of militancy in the country.
Officials gave no indication whether there was a link between the attack and Thomas' visit.
The blast occurred as people were leaving the airport after the arrival of a flight from Manila, Lobregat said.
"I believe I was the target," Tan told reporters, saying the device went off just a yard away from him. "I saw the flash very clearly." Tan sustained a small wound near his ribs. He was later discharged from hospital.
An enemy of the Abu Sayyaf militants, the Sulu governor has been targeted before. He escaped unharmed when a bomb-rigged motorcycle exploded near his convoy in Sulu in May last year. A town mayor and at least three security escorts were wounded in that attack.
In the past, a small group of militants with links to Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah had been blamed for bomb attacks in shopping malls, parks and Catholic churches in the city.
Dozens of US soldiers are stationed in the city, helping train and advise Filipino troops fighting militants who were sheltering a small group of Indonesian extremists.
|2010-08-04 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] AN INDONESIAN court on Tuesday jailed three men for harbouring terrorists involved in suicide bomb attacks on two luxury hotels in Jakarta last year that killed seven people.|
Afham Ramadhan, 23, Fajar Firdaus, 26, and Sonny Jayadi, 24, were each sentenced to four-and-a-half years' jail in separate trials at the South Jakarta district court.
The men sheltered Syaifudin Jaelani, who recruited the suicide bombers, and a florist called Ibrohim who helped the bombers get into the hotels ahead of the attacks.
Police killed Jaelani and Ibrohim after the July 17 bombings, as well as the suspected mastermind of the blasts, Malaysian terror leader Noordin Mohammed Top. Noordin led a splinter faction of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional extremist network, which is blamed for multiple attacks in Indonesia.
'Afham Ramadhan was the one who picked up Syaifudin and provided his rented room on the second floor for two days,' judge Didik Setyo Handono said.
Prosecutors said the three suspects, including Jaelani's nephew Firdaus, took turns bringing food to Jaelani until anti-terror police raided the hideout. The prosecutors had demanded a seven-year jail term.
|2010-07-22 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] A FORMER terror suspect linked to the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) militant group on Wednesday urged Malaysia to repeal a tough security law, saying detainees were subjected to mental torture.|
In a rare public statement from an ex-detainee, Mat Sah Satray said the Internal Security Act (ISA) was used as a political tool to detain individuals without trial and said the 'draconian' act should be abolished.
Mr Mat Sah was held without charge under the ISA for eight years until his release last year over alleged links with the South-east Asian terror outfit and the group's spiritual leader, Indonesian radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.
'I was held in a small room and was interrogated with questions that were meant to incite anger, such as how many times do you have sex with your wife every day,' he said at the launch of a human rights report.
'The ISA can be used to detain anyone at any time without trial and we can't defend ourselves,' said Mr Mat Sah, who said he was made a 'sacrificial lamb' as the region stepped up anti-terrorism efforts after the September 11 attacks.
|2010-07-20 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] MALAYSIA on Monday confirmed it had arrested a man accused of recruiting students for the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terror organisation, but played down the threat posed by the group.|
'It is not something so critical that we should ring warning bells,' Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said following the arrest of 28-year-old Mohamad Fadzullah Abdul Razak last Thursday.
'And trust me, when we actually arrested that particular individual that was after many months of monitoring his movement,' the minister said on the sidelines of a regional security conference in Kuala Lumpur.
|2010-07-18 Southeast Asia|
|One of the countrys most wanted terror suspects who is allegedly involved in recruiting university students for Jemaah Islamiah (JI) has been detained under the Internal Security Act.|
Mohamad Fadzullah Abbul Razak, who graduated from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in Skudai, Johor, in 2005, was arrested by police officers from the Special Task Force (Operations and Counter Terrorism) Department on Thursday. It is learnt that the 28-year-old engineer, whom the task force had been hunting since 2007, had just returned from Thailand when he was arrested by the officers at a house in Keramat here.
Sources said the man had allegedly been recruiting undergraduates from UTM as well as other institutions of higher learning into JI and had even sent several of them to participate in holy wars. According to them, intelligence reports showed one of his recruits was a 17-year-old student.
The Task Forces director, Commissioner Datuk Mohamed Fuzi Harun, confirmed the arrest but declined to elaborate. Last January, his department arrested 10 students for alleged involvement in terrorism activities.
Investigations revealed that certain people had infiltrated institutions of higher learning and universities to recruit students to participate in holy wars in the region. The students, most of them foreigners, have since been deported as investigations showed they were planning to blow up some non-Muslim places of worship in Selangor and in Penang.
|2010-07-07 Southeast Asia|
|A FULL-time national serviceman in the Singapore Armed Forces has been detained under the Internal Security Act, said a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday.|
Muhammad Fadil Abdul Hamid, 20, had become self-radicalised after searching the Internet for jihadist propaganda and videos.
He was influenced by the teachings of radical clerics posted online 'and became convinced that it was his religious duty to undertake armed jihad alongside fellow militants and strive for martyrdom,' said a statement from MHA.
Fadil initiated communication with radical cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki and expressed a desire to undertake militant jihad in places like Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was detained on April 4.
Two other Singaporeans - Muhammad Anwar Jailani, 44, and Muhammad Thahir bin Shaik Dawood, 27 - were also placed on Restriction Orders for two years from June 23, added the MHA statement.
Separately, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) member Ibrahim Mohd Noor was released on a Suspension Direction under the ISA on June 1.
Ibrahim, a trained operative, fled Singapore in December 2001 following the arrests of Singapore JI members in an ISD security operation, but was arrested and detained under the ISA in April 2007 in a joint operation with a regional security agency.
'He had cooperated in investigations and shown significant progress in his rehabilitation. He was assessed to no longer pose a security threat that required preventive detention,' said MHA.
|2010-06-30 Southeast Asia|
|An Indonesian court sentenced a website owner to five years in jail on Tuesday for hiding information from authorities that militants were planning to bomb two luxury hotels in Jakarta last year.|
Muhammad Jibriel Abdul Rahman, 25, the owner of the Ar-rahmah website, met with Noordin Mohammad Top, who headed a violent wing of regional militant group Jemaah Islamiah, before Top carried out the hotel attacks in July 2009, the court heard. Jibriel had been charged with abetting terrorism.
"The judges view that the defendant has plenty of information about the Islamic struggle fostered by Noordin Top in Indonesia," justice Erlin Hermanto told the South Jakarta district court. The sentence, less than the seven years demanded by prosecutors, drew screams from women clad in black burqas, the all-enveloping veils worn in some Islamic communities. "A damnation from God awaits," one woman shouted from the court gallery.
Jibriel said he would appeal against the sentence.
|2010-06-27 Southeast Asia|
|Indonesia's vaunted "deradicalisation programme" aimed at bringing terrorists back into mainstream Islam has been exposed as a myth by recent arrests of re-offenders, analysts and police said. Senior police now acknowledge that no such programme exists and are issuing increasingly stark warnings that, on the contrary, the mainly Muslim country's prisons are at risk of becoming schools of violent jihad.|
The final straw appears to have been the re-arrest Wednesday of Abdullah Sunata, 32, on suspicion of plotting attacks on the Danish embassy and a police parade. He was released from jail last year for good behaviour after serving only a fraction of a seven-year sentence for his role in a 2004 attack on the Australian embassy, which killed 10 people.
One of Sunata's alleged accomplices arrested on the same day last week had also been jailed for the embassy attack, while a third who was killed by police was a former soldier who had been radicalised in prison while serving time for smuggling.
Other recent examples include bomb-maker Bagus Budi Pranoto -- also jailed over the embassy truck bombing, he was released after just four years only to be re-arrested over last year's suicide attacks on luxury hotels in Jakarta.
Within months of Sunata's release, he was allegedly back on the jihadist war path, plotting attacks and helping to organise a new terror cell dubbed "Al-Qaeda in Aceh" under the leadership of Jemaah Islamiyah militant Dulmatin. Police discovered the cell in February and killed Dulmatin in March.
National police spokesman Edward Aritonang said Sunata's case was further evidence that Indonesia's prisons, far from helping to rehabilitate terrorists, risked turning into terrorist "schools". It is time to look at a "new system or method, so the counselling for prisoners truly works and prisons don't become schools" of radicalisation, he said.
Hundreds of terrorists have been convicted, jailed and released since Indonesia was shaken by the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, mostly Western tourists. With rare exceptions -- notably three of the Bali bombers who were executed in 2008 -- most have been given lenient sentences and even financial help to find jobs and reintegrate into moderate Indonesian society.
Counter-terrorism squad chief Colonel Tito Karnavian complains that the notoriously corrupt correction system effectively provides extremists a sanctuary to preach, recruit and plot. "In prison they can convene, sit and discuss freely and safely, secured by the government," he told reporters earlier this month, adding that Indonesia had "no systematic mechanism" for rehabilitation. "They are able to survive, not only survive but collaborate... We need quite a big budget for prevention and rehabilitation, not only repression."
Recognising the danger, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the creation of a national counter-terrorism body, focusing on prevention and rehabilitation, which will report directly to him. But Karnavian warned that an "extra-judicial body" would be "prone to be politicised" -- a possible reference to Islamic parties in the ruling coalition -- and said police should remain in charge of all counter-terrorism efforts. "As long as the radical ideology is growing and extremism is increasing we have a very huge reservoir for would-be terrorists or suicide bombers," he said.
Noor Huda Ismail, a former extremist who now works directly with terrorist prisoners to bring them back into moderate society, said Indonesia had never had a proper deradicalisation plan. "All they've done so far is be nice with the terrorists in order to squeeze information from them," he told AFP.
The Al-Qaeda in Aceh group's chief alleged ideologue, Aman Abdurrahman, was initially arrested over his involvement in a bomb-making cell back in 2004 and was released in 2008. Analysts who visited him in jail during that period said his prison guards, rather than working to deradicalise him, didn't even know who he was and made no effort to stop him holding "study sessions" with other terrorist detainees. Like Sunata, Abdurrahman is now back behind bars.
|2010-06-25 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] THE father-in-law of slain Malaysian terror leader Noordin Mohammed Top went on trial in Indonesia on Thursday, facing up to 15 years in prison for helping the fugitive evade capture.|
Baharudin Latif alias Baridin, 55, was arrested five months after suicide bomb attacks on two luxury hotels in Jakarta in July last year that killed seven people.
'The defendant deliberately provided assistance and facilities to the perpertrator of terrorism by hiding from police the most-wanted terror mastermind Noordin Mohammed Top,' prosecutor Firmansyah told the court.
Noordin was killed in a police raid in September, ending one of Southeast Asia's biggest manhunts.
He led a group he called Al-Qaeda in the Malay Archipelago and was responsible for multiple deadly attacks in the mainly Muslim country, including the hotel bombings and a truck-bomb blast at the Australian embassy in 2004.
Firmansyah said Latif had been a member of regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) since 1995 and led a local branch in East Java province in 2000. .
Noordin visited Latif's house three times and married his daughter, Arina Rahmah, in 2006.
|2010-06-20 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] THE government will not stop the Islamic missionary activities of local groups although it has been found that foreigners are spreading the teachings of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) in the country, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Senator Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said on Saturday.|
He said the local missionary groups were spreading the correct Islamic teachings and did not resort to violence and militancy.
'The (missionary) groups in the country are operating in the right way and are contributing to the good and are not linked to the JI. Do not have wrongful assumptions about these groups, which will give rise to negative perceptions. We are monitoring those groups which have links abroad and have an agenda of a violent nature,' he told reporters after presenting aid to 210 needy pupils of religious primary schools.
Jamil Khir was asked to elaborate on government measures to ensure that missionary activities in the country were not influenced by the JI movement. He said the ministry would cooperate with the Home Ministry to help prevent the JI movement from gaining a foothold and spreading its teachings in the country.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said recently that investigations showed that the JI operatives had been working independently to recruit Malaysian students to participate in the 'jihad' (holy war) abroad.
The matter came to light following the detention of 10 JI members early this year. All of them had been deported.
|2010-06-18 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] ISLAMIC extremists led by a deported Syrian scholar with suspected ties to Al-Qaeda were planning to blow up houses of worship in Malaysia, a government-linked newspaper reported on Thursday.|
The New Straits Times said Aiman Al Dakak, 45, was among nine foreigners including Syrians, Yemenis, Nigerians and a Jordanian deported in April, most of them students.
According to previous Malaysian reports, 10 foreign terror suspects had been deported. Police and home ministry officials had no immediate comment on the latest report.
The NST did not specify which 'houses of worship' were allegedly targeted by the group but said they were located in the states of Penang and Selangor. The foreigners and their local associates felt that Malaysia, which is 60 per cent Muslim, was losing its identity as an Islamic country, the report said.
It said Aiman was also trying to revive the Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) by attracting new members from Malaysian universities.
The paper reported that Aiman, who is fluent in Arabic and English, gave lectures to both local and foreign students at his home, indoctrinating them with jihadist ideology and urging them to carry out the bombings.
|2010-06-17 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] MALAYSIA'S government will enlist the help of universities to stop Islamic militants using campuses as recruitment centres for their violent struggle, according to the deputy premier.|
Muhyiddin Yassin said police would hold a special briefing for university administrators following the recent deportation of 10 foreigners for trying to recruit Malaysian students to wage holy war overseas. The militants were detained earlier this year for trying to revive the South-east Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) by attracting new members from Malaysian universities. The organisation has been linked to Al-Qaeda and blamed for major attacks in the region, including the 2002 Bali bombings.
'A special briefing will be given... it will discuss the form of cooperation that can be taken among all parties to curb this unhealthy trend which can affect national security,' Mr Muhyiddin told the Bernama news agency late on Tuesday. 'The police have a lot of information and know movements, so the cooperation of all parties is very important to safeguard national security,' added Mr Muhyiddin, who is also the education minister.
Police chief Musa Hassan said two university campuses were being monitored as some local and foreign students from the Middle East and Africa were spreading jihadist ideology, the New Straits Times reported Wednesday. 'Action will be taken if they (the foreigners) go overboard,' Chief Musa told the paper, without naming the universities. The police chief could not be reached for comment.
Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Tuesday foreign militants were using mainly-Muslim Malaysia as a base, confirming there were both religious and non-Islamic militant groups operating in the country.
He said the militants were using Malaysia to carry out financial transactions, share information and recruit new members.
|2010-06-16 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] FOREIGN militants are using mainly Muslim Malaysia as a base to beef up their violent struggle and recruit new members, a senior minister said on Tuesday.|
Hishammuddin Hussein, in charge of domestic security, confirmed that there were Islamic and non-Islamic militant groups operating in the country.
The militants were using Malaysia to carry out financial transactions, information sharing and recruitment of new members, he said. 'Among those targeted for recruitment are students of local higher learning institutions,' he was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.
Mr Hishammuddin's remarks come after Musa Hassan, inspector-general of police, on Monday said 10 foreigners had been deported for trying to recruit students to wage holy war overseas.
The militants were detained earlier this year for trying to revive the defunct Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror group by attracting new members from Malaysian universities.
The regional organisation has been linked to Al-Qaeda and blamed for major attacks in South-east Asia, including the 2002 Bali bombings. Mr Hishammuddin said Malaysia was closely monitoring selected foreigners entering the country with the help of international intelligence agencies.
|2010-06-16 Southeast Asia|
|[Dawn] Malaysia has arrested and deported 10 foreigners suspected of trying to recruit university students to revive a regional terrorist network, police said Tuesday.|
More detail on yesterday's story...
The foreigners were arrested over the past six months at different locations, national police chief Musa Hassan said. They allegedly tried to recruit students to work abroad for the Al-Qaeda-linked Southeast Asian group Jemaah Islamiyah.
I don't know if JI is trying to come back or if it's been reborn as al-Q in Aceh.
Jemaah Islamiyah is blamed for several deadly attacks in the region, including the 2002 bombings on the Indonesian island of Bali that killed 202 people.
"All have been deported," Musa told The Associated Press, declining to give further details.
The Star daily quoted him as saying police were monitoring 20 to 30 students, and the foreigners began talking to them about joining the group.
"This trend is very worrying as it shows that these militants have changed their tactics and strategies in recruiting members, especially for their activities in other countries," Musa was quoted as saying. "Police will monitor students attending any talks that can cause upheaval and threaten national security."
Musa said students were "usually targeted as they are young and believe in things more easily," the New Straits Times reported.
Separately, the government arrested nine other foreigners and one Malaysian in January under a law that allows detention without trial. Two of the foreigners - who were from Jordan, Nigeria, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere - were deported in March, but there was no information on the others' status.
Activists say police arrested the men with some 40 others at a home near Kuala Lumpur while attending a weekly Islamic class with a Syrian university lecturer. The others were later freed.
Over the past decade, Malaysian authorities have detained more than 100 militant suspects, most alleged to be members of Jemaah Islamiyah. Authorities have freed many, saying they have been rehabilitated. None was ever charged.
Since the 2002 Bali attack, a regional security crackdown has seen hundreds of militants killed or captured and convicted.
Jemaah Islamiyah was accused of carrying out the deadly July 2009 bombings at two luxury hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia, and a plot to assassinate that country's president.
The bombings ended a four-year lull in terrorist attacks in Indonesia.
|2010-06-04 Southeast Asia|
|Hardline Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir had a direct line to al-Qa'ida around the time of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in the US because his son was working in the organisation's propaganda department. The revelation was made by the chief of Indonesia's counter-terrorism taskforce, an outfit known as Detachment 88, as expectations mounted that Bashir could soon be arrested over a terror cell uncovered this year in Aceh province.|
Bashir's youngest son, Abdul Rohim, was already known to have spent several years in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the late 1990s engaging in jihad-related activities.
Bashir was closely linked to the 2002 Bali bombings, including a conviction for criminal conspiracy, although that was later overturned on constitutional grounds. Rohim is part of his father's operation at the al-Mukmin school in Solo, Central Java, where Bali bombers Amrozi, Mukhlas and Ali Imron were students.
Brigadier General Tito Karnavian, the head of Detachment 88, has revealed that Rohim, now aged in his early 30s, had lived with September 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and was an active member of al-Qa'ida around the time of the US attacks. "Abdul Rohim is a real part of al-Qa'ida because he was staying with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Kandahar, being staff of media, of propaganda, of al-Qa'ida," the anti-terror chief said.
While Rohim's role as a point man between al-Qa'ida and Southeast Asian-based terror groups such as his father's Jemaah Islamiah has been established, the revelation that he was working directly for Osama bin Laden's group as a propagandist is new. It comes as police interrogate members of Bashir's current organisation. Jemaah Anshorut Tawhid, over the preacher's alleged involvement in the recent Aceh terror plot.
|2010-05-14 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] INDONESIAN police raided a vehicle battery service shop in Central Java yesterday, netting three suspected terrorists in a continuing crackdown on Islamic militants based in Aceh.|
The arrests in the rented shop in a busy commercial area in Solo came a day after five suspected terrorists were shot and one arrested in two raids in East Jakarta and Cikampek.
Yesterday, the three men, who did not resist arrest, were found with firearms, including two assault rifles and a pistol disguised as a pen, thousands of bullets and bulletproof vests.
With the latest arrests, the Indonesian authorities believe they have rounded up the majority of those involved in paramilitary training in Aceh, where experts believe the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terror network has made its new base.
Since police discovered and raided a training camp in the mountains of Indonesia's westernmost province in February, they have captured more than 60 suspected militants and shot 13 in follow-up raids and arrests.
'Those nabbed in Solo are linked to the Aceh training camp,' national police deputy spokesman Zainuri Lubis told reporters in Jakarta hours after yesterday's raid.
|2010-05-08 Southeast Asia|
|Extremist preacher Abu Bakar Bashir founded the Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid in 2008, an organization he claims is based on "true" Islamic teachings. Antiterror police on Thursday raided JAT headquarters in South Jakarta and detained at least five men over suspected terrorist activities. |
With the help of his friend Abdullah Achmad Sungkar, Bashir is believed to have founded regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah 1993 in Malaysia after fleeing Indonesia to escape prosecution under the Suharto regime. JI's goal was to create a Islamic caliphate covering Indonesia, Malaysia, the southern Philippines, Singapore, Brunei and southern Thailand.
Bashir was convicted in 2005 of conspiracy over the 2002 Bali bombings. Sentenced to two and a half years in jail, the charges were dropped in 2006.
In Friday's interview with the Jakarta Globe, Bashir explains his links to fugitive Abu Tholut, a former regional commander of JI and a military trainer in Mindanao, southern Philippines. Tholut once told police he had been involved in the bloody conflict in Poso, Central Sulawesi. He was believed to have been the target of a 2003 raid in Semarang, Central Java. Police sources on Thursday said Tholut had acted as a bridge between Bashir and an armed militant group in Aceh, whose members were recently arrested in police raids.
Do you know Abu Tholut personally?
I knew him in Cipinang [penitentiary]. We did not share a cell but we still were allowed some flexibility by wardens to meet. Particularly on Friday, Muslim inmates could gather at the prison mosque. I have received information that Abu Tholut is now a fugitive. I do not know where he is, and what case he has involved himself in.
What is Tholut to you?
Our last encounter was six months ago. He was at Ngruki [Bashir's Al Mukmin boarding school]. Abu Tholut used to teach the science of war [Asykari] according to the Koran and the Sunnah of the Prophet at Al Mukmin [Islamic boarding school in Ngruki]. We are emotionally linked as fellow clerics. He lived a long time in Afghanistan and ruled in the science of jihad. Abu Tholut is amongst those Islamic fighters who could never be careless.
Did Tholut ever receive help or funding from you to carry out terrorist activities? Was he the target of a raid in Semarang in 2003 where police managed to seize a massive cache of explosives?
I know nothing outside of affairs of Da'wah [preaching]. I have never given funding of any kind to Tholut and I do not know if he received any funding for terrorism. I and Abu Tholut agreed to struggle via the path of education and dissemination of religious teachings without violence. We conduct jihad only if we are attacked. I am sure that Abu Tholut would never approve of the way jihad is carried out by those Aceh [suspects].
Do you know who the leaders of the armed militant group in Aceh are?
I just see their faces on television. I do wonder how these boys obtain firearms so easily, considering they have no network. It is not easy for insurgents to gain access to such massive amounts of ammunition. Both the police and army must be behind this.
What do you think they were fighting for?
I am in no position to respond to the direction of the struggle in Aceh. Police need to prove whether they were really true mujahideen or just ordinary criminals. I do not know whether or not they were part of Jemaah Islamiyah. Let police answer that question.
What is happening at Ngruki now?
Police and soldiers come here to conduct searches. If members of the JAT or graduates of Ngruki conducted violent acts outside the organizations and schools, it's not our responsibility. And if members of JAT go out of bounds in that matter, they will be expelled from the organization.
How are you feeling lately?
I am always watched by the police and army. They follow wherever I go and when I give lectures at mosques. They want to narrow down my movements. But they do not interfere with my family.
|2010-05-07 Southeast Asia|
|Indonesian police said Friday they had arrested 12 terrorist suspects linked to a training camp discovered in Aceh province in February.|
National police spokesman Edward Aritonang said the men had been rounded up without a fight in and around Jakarta on Thursday. "Some of them were part of the supporting team for terror drills in Aceh. The team that recruits people and arranges their trips," he said.
He indicated that the suspects could be linked to regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah but refused to comment on local media reports that they were followers of radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.
|2010-04-21 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] AN INDONESIAN court on Tuesday sentenced a man to eight years' jail for sheltering terror mastermind Noordin Mohammed Top before the Malaysian fanatic was killed by police in September.|
Indonesian extremist Syaifudin Zuhri, 39, hid and abetted Noordin as he planned twin suicide attacks on luxury hotels in Jakarta last year which killed seven people, the court found.
'Syaifudin Zuhri has been proven legally and convincingly guilty in assisting, accommodating and hiding terror convicts. The defendant is sentenced to eight years in prison,' judge Haryanto told the court.
Noordin led a splinter faction of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror group until he was killed by Indonesian police during a raid on a house on Java island last year.
He was blamed for a 2003 attack on Jakarta's Marriott hotel, the 2004 bombing of the Australian embassy, 2005 attacks on tourist restaurants on Bali as well as the suicide blasts at the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton last July.
Zuhri, who was arrested in Central Java province a month before last year's hotel attacks, also stood as a witness at Noordin's third marriage in 2006.
|2010-04-17 Southeast Asia|
|[ADN Kronos] (AKI) - More than half the foreign terrorists based in the Philippines's southern province of Mindanao had links to the Islamist terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, according to military intelligence. Documents obtained by Adnkronos International (AKI) show that 50 foreign militants have joined local Muslim rebels in their struggle for self-determination in Mindanao. |
The documents, updated in February 2010, said 28 of the militants had links to Jemaah Islamiyah, the Asian-based Islamist group linked to Al-Qaeda.
Many of them were believed to have been integrated in the Islamic community in the central west of the island in the autonomous Muslim region of Mindanao.
The military intelligence document said many of these terrorists live under the protection of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (photo), in particular in the so called SKP training camp in Liguasan Marsh.
In peace talks conducted with the government in 1997, the group denied any involvement with terrorists.
However, the report found more than 24 individuals are suspected of links to other Islamist terrorist groups such as KOMPAK, Darul Islam, Laskar Jundullah, and Indonesian Laskar Jihad - which has been linked to violent attacks on Christians - and Kumpulan Mujahidin, which is committed to the creation of an Islamic state in Malaysia.
At least 18 members of this group were reported to be in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, while the others were in Sulu, the island in the south of Mindanao, considered the stronghold of another Muslim separatist group, Abu Sayyaf.
The MILF is the largest of four Muslim separatist groups in Mindanao, and Abu Sayyaf is understood to have links with Al-Qaeda.
Jemaah Islamiyah is held responsible for Indonesia's deadliest terror attack, the 2002 Bali bombings, and was added the United Nations' list of terrorist organisations linked to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban the same year.
|2010-04-14 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] SIX suspected terrorists nabbed in Medan on Sunday included two former convicts suspected of involvement in earlier bombings in Jakarta, and a man who allegedly had received militant training in southern Philippines.|
Information released by police yesterday and several news reports said the six men had fled Aceh in the wake of counter-terrorism operations there.
Police officers had stormed a militant training camp in the forest in February, but were unable to capture all the trainees.
To date, more than 40 members of the group have been nabbed alive, while at least seven others, including explosives expert and Jemaah Islamiah leader Dulmatin, have been killed.
Dulmatin, one of the masterminds of the 2002 Bali bombings and a supporter of the Aceh training camp, was tracked down in early March in Tangerang, West Java, based on information from the men detained in Aceh.
Yesterday, Aceh police shot dead one suspect and arrested four more men in two raids.
|2010-04-04 Southeast Asia|
|The Islamic teacher sat on the wooden porch of his house smiling politely, his infant son playing at his feet. Those who study the Koran are automatically suspect, Dul Nasir Hama said, adding that he's not a terrorist nor are his students part of the insurgency. |
As he spoke, a Thai army patrol skirted the grounds of his madrasa in Pattani, a jungle area of southern Thailand with a long history of violent clashes between Malay Muslims and Thai Buddhists. "They're afraid to come in here," he said. "They think I'll put a spell on them."
Authorities see southern Thailand's network of Muslim religious schools as a key source of recruits for an insurgency in which more than 4,000 people have died in the last six years amid the rebels' bid for an autonomous state. Each month, about 100 sectarian attacks take place in southern Thailand, down from a peak of approximately 200 a month in 2007, according to Pattani's Deep South Watch.
On Thursday, six Buddhist villagers in Narathiwat province were found dead, believed ambushed, and 10 police officers and soldiers were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded as they were going to the scene of the shootings, police said.
"It's considered the world's third most intensive Muslim insurgency, after Afghanistan-Pakistan and Iraq," said Benjamin Zawacki, an activist with Amnesty International, which condemns rights violations on both sides. "And it's not just going to go away."
As part of counterinsurgency efforts, the Thai army has ceded more authority to home-defense and paramilitary forces. Many of these troops are poorly trained, critics say, further antagonizing the Malay-speaking Muslim majority in the troubled provinces just north of the border with Malaysia.
Local militia member Apiyud Rattanapinyo, 52, shows off his weaponry at his dingy restaurant in Tan Yong Mas, a town ringed by army checkpoints. The Thai Buddhist has two rifles in his truck, a .357 magnum pistol on his belt, four amulets around his neck and half a dozen teeth missing from his smile. "Islamic teachers may say they're not involved, but many are lying," he said. "The militants are afraid of people like me because I shoot at them."
Rattanapinyo, a self-avowed protector of traditional Thai values who said he's been shot at four times and survived a roadside bomb, believes that a solution lies in forcing Islamic schools to teach more Thai language and culture. "This is Thailand," he said. "If they don't mess with my homeland, I won't mess with theirs."
Far more hidden are the insurgents and their weapons. An estimated 90% of villages in contested zones have secretive attack cells, security experts say. The movement appears to have some contact with Southeast Asia's Jemaah Islamiah, a group linked to the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people, said Srisompob Jitpiromsri, director of Deep South Watch. But the strength of the ties is a matter of debate and the insurgency has so far avoided attacking Bangkok, the Thai capital, or tourist resorts, presumably wary of attracting unwanted global attention in a post-Sept. 11 world.
|2010-03-25 Southeast Asia|
|During its long and bloody history in Indonesia which includes a string of deadly bombings, among them the 2002 attack on the Bali beach resort Jemaah Islamiyah has been called many things: terrorists, murderers, allies of Osama bin Laden. But until this month, no one had ever called them weak-kneed. But in a video analysts say heralds the formation of an even more extreme organization in Indonesia, the group that killed 202 people in Bali and is suspected of carrying out subsequent attacks on foreign-owned hotels and the Australian embassy in Jakarta is taunted by assault rifle-wielding men as having lost its stomach for holy war.|
To all members of Jemaah Islamiyah, unite! Jihad is not waged with pens or wearing prayer caps and sarongs,' one militant says to the camera, his face obscured by an editor. No, you fight jihad with weapons. Before your hair goes grey with age, join us!' He goes on to call out one moderate leader of Jemaah Islamiyah by name, saying all he does is sit in an office.'
The 75-minute video, posted online by a group that calls itself al-Qaeda in Aceh, is similar in style to those produced by the main al-Qaeda network based in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Militants are shown firing weapons and going through physical training. Clips from Mr. bin Laden's speeches are interspersed with calls for the establishment of an Islamic state in Indonesia.
Two weeks before the video was posted online, a special unit of the Indonesian police raided what they called a terrorist training camp' deep in the forests of the province of Aceh, the westernmost point of Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago with the world's largest population of Muslims. But while the police operations which captured dozens of assault rifles and hand grenades, as well as cash and fake identification papers were a blow to al-Qaeda in Aceh, discoveries made at the camp revealed how dangerous the new group may be.
While underscoring the split within Jemaah Islamiyah, which fractured under police pressure after the Bali bombings, the evidence suggests a new unity among Indonesia's extremist groups, analysts say. Those caught or killed at the training camp included several hardline members of Jemaah Islamiyah, as well as fighters from at least five other militant factions that had never previously found common cause. Little bomb-making material was discovered at the camp, leading to speculation that the group may have ruled out future Bali-style attacks, which have been divisive among jihadis, since many of those killed in such mass bombings have been Muslims.
The group appeared instead to have been training to carry out targeted assassinations or perhaps military-style assaults similar to the 2008 attacks on foreign hotels and other targets in the Indian city of Mumbai. The group's weaponry was apparently supplied by a member who was also a Jakarta police officer with access to firearms slated for disposal.
It's a coming together of most of the main jihadi groups [in Indonesia], with the exception of Jemaah Islamiyah,' said Sidney Jones, a Jakarta-based analyst for the International Crisis Group. It was really a composite group of people who seem to have agreed on a lowest common denominator of what they could all find acceptable. They didn't necessarily agree to carry out [Bali]-style bombings, but they did agree on military training and the need to establish an Islamic state, by force if necessary.'
The militants are believed to have been planning an attack on the United Nations headquarters in Banda Aceh, the regional capital, and police are looking for links between the group and a series of mysterious shootings that targeted foreigners in the city last year. It has become clear to us that Dulmatin had instructed those whom we have managed to capture alive to launch violent attacks against very specific targets,' said General Bambang Hendarso Danuri, Indonesia's national police chief.
Despite the new organization's name, Ms. Jones said it isn't clear whether there are any real ties between it and the wider al-Qaeda network. However, al-Qaeda in Aceh does have strong links to Abu Sayyaf, the notorious group that has terrorized the southern Philippines for two decades. Several prominent members, including Mr. Dulmatin and the man believed to have succeeded him as leader of al-Qaeda in Aceh, Umar Patek, are known to have fled Indonesia following the Bali bombings and gone to the Philippines, where they fought alongside Abu Sayyaf. Like Mr. Dulmatin, Mr. Patek is a former senior commander in Jemaah Islamiyah renowned for his bomb-making skills.
One of those killed at the Aceh camp was a Filipino fighter believed to have been a member of Abu Sayyaf, raising concern at the ease with which the militants appear to be moving between Indonesia and the Philippines.
The new organization is believed to have chosen Aceh for its remoteness, as well as the fact that the semi-autonomous government there recently imposed a version of sharia law. But while those captured include several former members of the Free Aceh Movement that in 2005 ended a 30-year military campaign for independence, al-Qaeda in Aceh does not have the support of the wider Free Aceh Movement leadership. In fact, police say it was Free Aceh Movement fighters who led them to the militant training camp.
But while the fledgling al-Qaeda in Aceh may have lost its leader and main training grounds, police say there are at least seven more cells of the organization active on Indonesia's main island of Java alone. This network still has the capacity to create new cells. This is a very strong terrorism network,' said Andi Widjajanto, a military analyst at the University of Indonesia. What we are now seeing is the strengthening of the terrorist network in Indonesia, not its weakening.'
|2010-03-22 Southeast Asia|
|[Jakarta Post] Indonesian officials have asked Philippine authorities to track down an Indonesian fugitive wanted in connection with several beheadings who is now helping to train militants in an insurgency-wracked Philippine region, security officials said Sunday.|
Sanusi, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, has been monitored in Mindanao's marshy heartland, two Philippine intelligence officials said. He fled to the region after being accused of ordering militants in 2007 to behead three people in the eastern Indonesian town of Poso, where Islamist militants had launched a series of bloody attacks on Christians and government workers.
An Indonesian Embassy official said his government has asked Philippine authorities to capture Sanusi, who was spotted at a mosque near southern Cotabato city during the holy month of Ramadan last fall. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
A senior Philippine military intelligence official said Sanusi has emerged as a key operative of Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian terror group linked to al-Qaida. He is believed to have helped fund and organize religious and combat training for new Indonesian militant recruits in Mindanao, where local guerrillas are fighting to create an independent Muslim state.
Sanusi has not been implicated in any attack in the Philippines and is not on any terrorist backlist because authorities are only just beginning to uncover his activities and the role he plays, according to the military intelligence official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of his post.
Another government intelligence official said Sanusi has been trying to link up Filipino Muslim guerrillas with potential financial donors in the Middle East.
There are at least two dozen Jemaah Islamiyah members in central Mindanao. At least another 25 Indonesian and Asian militants, who belong to other underground groups, have been given refuge mainly by the Abu Sayyaf extremist group on southern Jolo island and nearby Basilan province, according to the military. Abu Sayyaf is another Southeast Asian terror network linked to al-Qaida.
Among the Indonesian militants allied with the Abu Sayyaf were Umar Patek and Dulmatin, who had recently returned to Indonesia after hiding for years in Mindanao. Indonesian police killed Dulmatin, Southeast Asia's most-wanted terrorist and a master bomb-maker, in an Internet cafe near Jakarta last March 9.
Patek and Dulmatin had been suspected of helping plot the 2002 nightclub bombings that killed 202 people in Bali, Indonesia.
American troops have provided combat training, intelligence and weapons to the underfunded Philippine military for years to help combat the Abu Sayyaf, which is on U.S. and European terrorist lists, and its Asian militant allies.
|2010-03-12 Home Front: WoT|
|HAMBALI, the alleged Bali bomb mastermind who is suspected of links to Al-Qaeda, has filed a petition seeking his release from Guantanamo where he has been detained for more than three years.|
Um, no ...
Considered the operational chief of Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) until his capture in Thailand in 2003, Hambali, whose real name is Riduan Isamuddin, filed a habeas petition with the US District Court in Washington.
Hambali, accused of plotting the October 2002 attack in Bali that killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists, was held for three years in secret CIA prisons before being transferred to Guantanamo in September 2006.
In addition to the Bali bombing he is thought to have raised funds from Al-Qaeda, with whom he has denied any links, for the 2003 attack on the Marriott hotel in Jakarta that left 12 people dead.
JI has long been suspected of having ties to Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network, which was behind the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States that killed close to 3,000 people, most in New York.
Hambali allegedly headed JI until late 2002. He was arrested in Thailand in August 2003 and handed over to US authorities, who are currently detaining him at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The US also accuses Hambali of orchestrating and funding an attack on an Indonesian church on Christmas Eve 2000 that left 18 dead, and of plotting attacks on the embassies of the US, Britain and Australia in Singapore.
In a major setback for the Bush administration, the Supreme Court ruled in June 2008 that detainees being held without charge at Guantanamo enjoy the constitutional right of habeas corpus, which allows them to challenge their detention.
|2010-03-12 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] SUSPICION is mounting that the fugitive militant Umar Patek may be in Aceh, after word spread on Wednesday that the Indonesian counter-terrorism force was hot on his trail.|
Umar was a key leader of the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiah (JI) in Indonesia until he fled to the southern Philippines in 2003.
He is thought to have returned to Indonesia last year with another fugitive JI member, Dulmatin, the 40-year-old bomb-maker who was shot dead on Tuesday in West Jakarta.
Security experts predicted yesterday that it would not be long before Umar, 40, was caught if he was in Indonesia.
Security analyst Ken Conboy, referring to Indonesia's crack anti-terror squad, said: 'With only 10 days to go before Obama gets here, you can be sure Densus 88 (Detachment 88) is working overtime to follow up on any leads they have.'
United States President Barack Obama is scheduled to make an official visit to Jakarta and Bali next weekend.
|2010-03-12 Southeast Asia|
|Thousands attended the burial of Dulmatin, a key wanted terrorist slain during a police raid in Tangerang this week, at a family cemetery in his hometown of Pemalang in Central Java on Friday. Along the way from his house to the cemetery in Loning village, mourners shouted "Allahu akbar" and called Dulmatin a mujahideen.|
Names, addresses, photographs ...
Dulmatin's body arrived in Pemalang at 3:20 p.m. on Friday, to the frenzied greetings of members of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI). A banner in front of Dulmatin's house read, "Ammar Usman Sofie was not a terrorist. He was a mujahideen."
Police forces banned journalists from entering Dulmatin's house to take pictures but they were themselves later barred from going to the cemetery. "Back off, back off. We do not need police officers," said mourners.
Only male relatives and friends were allowed to attend the funeral and the prayers at the Baitul Muttaqin mosque near the cemetery. Istiadah, Dulmatin's widow, and the other women remained at home.
"The funeral has gone well, with no problems or difficulties. Everybody in this village came and helped us," Dulmatin's eldest brother Azam Ba'afut said. "This shows that my brother was a good man."
Dulmatin, 39, and two other people were shot dead on Tuesday in a gunfight with counterterrorism forces in Tangerang. With a $10 million bounty on his head, Dulmatin was accused of having been one of the key people in the 2002 Bali bombings that left 202 people dead, mostly foreign tourists.
"He was not a terrorist but a holy warrior," another relative, Sahid Ahmad Sungkar, was quoted by Antara news agency as saying. "His death is the will of Allah, who will decide who's right or wrong."
FPI Pekalongan chairman Abu Ayas said mourners had come from nearby Pekalongan and Batang as well as regions as far away as Solo and Banyuwangi.
Abu Wildan, a former member of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terrorist group to which Dulmatin used to belong, also appeared at the funeral. Widlan split from the group, disagreeing with the path of violence it had chosen.
Heru Kuncoro, Dulmatin's brother-in-law and now the most wanted person after terrorism suspect Umar Patek, was rumored to have attended the funeral but Zaid Ahmad Sungkar denied it.
In Solo, Central Java, hard-line cleric Abu Bakar Bashir said: "I do not know Dulmatin and we've never met. But he did not deserve to be called a terrorist. Dulmatin was a mujahideen even if I don't agree with his struggle and use of violence in the country in times of peace."
Meanwhile, the Densus 88 antiterrorism police unit continued to pursue accomplices of Dulmatin in Solo, Wonogiri, Yogyakarta and Klaten, all in Central Java.
|2010-03-10 Southeast Asia|
|Still allegedly dead|
JAKARTA - AN ALLEGED mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings is believed to be one of three suspects shot dead by Indonesian anti-terror police yesterday. The authorities said they were still trying to confirm whether the man was Dulmatin, a leader of the Jemaah%20Islamiah>Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terrorist network and an explosives expert. It could take up to two days to identify the body.
Dulmatin, nicknamed 'Genius', has been wanted by the police since 2002.
The suspect was killed in a shootout when members of the anti-terror Detachment 88 (Densus 88) raided a shophouse in Pamulang district in Tangerang around noon. About an hour later, the other two suspects, said to be his bodyguards, were shot dead near the shophouse, which houses an Internet cafe.
The trio had been the target of a series of raids across the country following the discovery of a terrorist training camp in Aceh last month. Police operations conducted in Aceh and Java have so far nabbed 21 people suspected of being members of an Aceh-based terror group with links to JI.
|2010-03-10 Southeast Asia|
|Reuters) - A suspected mastermind of the Bali bombings was killed in a police raid in Indonesia in the latest blow to an Islamist militant movement in the world's most populous Muslim country. Dulmatin, who once trained with al Qaeda in Afghanistan, was one of three militants killed in a shootout with police at an Internet cafe and a house nearby, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Wednesday.|
"Today I can announce to you that after a successful police raid against the terrorists hiding out in Jakarta yesterday, we can confirm that one of those that was killed was Dulmatin, one of the top Southeast Asian terrorists," Yudhoyono said in a speech in Australia's parliament house in Canberra.
The series of police raids that led to Dulmatin's death will be seen as a coup in Indonesia's fight against Islamist radicals ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit March 20-22. But analysts said Dulmatin's emergence in Indonesia with a new group showed a worrisome ability of local militants to forge international links, including with al Qaeda-affiliated outfits.
Police shot dead Dulmatin, who they said fired at officers with a revolver he was carrying, and two others in a series of coordinated raids on the outskirts of Jakarta on Tuesday.
Dulmatin's body was identified after DNA tests and also by his chin shape, eyebrows and freckles, police said on Wednesday. The other two men killed were said to be his bodyguards.
Dulmatin, an electronics specialist, was a top bomb technician for the Southeast Asian Islamist militant group, Jemaah Islamiah. Authorities say he helped plan the suicide bombings that ripped apart two night clubs in Bali and killed 202 people in 2002.
He fled to the southern Philippines in 2003 and the U.S. government had a $10 million reward for his capture. The 40-year-old who was born in Central Java is said to have been wounded after escaping a raid by Philippine security forces.
Indonesia's counter-terrorism unit, Detachment 88, has launched raids across the archipelago following the discovery of a militant Islamist training camp in Aceh last month. Books on jihad, rifles and military uniforms were found during the raids in which 21 suspected members of the group were detained in Aceh and Java.
Aceh's governor, Irwandi Yusuf, was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying on Tuesday the group planned to set up a Southeast Asian jihadist network in the Sumatran province. Analysts said Dulmatin had the capability to succeed Noordin Mohammad Top, a Malaysian-born militant and bomb maker killed by police last year during a raid in central Java.
Top, who set up a violent splinter group of Jemaah Islamiah, masterminded a series of bombings including suicide attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta last July.
Sidney Jones, an expert at the International Crisis Group, said the new group was also a splinter of Jemaah Islamiah, likely calling itself the Aceh branch of al Qaeda for Southeast Asia (Tandzim Al Qoidah Indonesia Wilayah Serambi Makkah) Jones said that the militants were probably planning attacks but the recent arrests and deaths should have damaged their capacity to carry them out for now.
But the analyst said it was unclear if there were other Aceh-like cells and the re-emergence of Dulmatin in Indonesia showed the worrying extent of the international links Indonesia militants have forged. "This means that there probably was far more coordination with the Philippines over the last five years than we had any appreciation of," she said.
In the Philippines, Dulmatin was last thought to be operating with the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, along with another Indonesian wanted over the Bali bombings, Umar Patek.
National Police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri told a news conference that the raids in Jakarta had turned up remote controls that could be used to detonate bombs. He also said that Dulmatin was more dangerous than some other well known militants, including expert bomb-maker Azahari Husin, who was killed by Indonesian police.
Dulmatin's group had secured 500 million rupiah ($54,500) to buy weapons and for military training, with more money available, he added. Security analyst Dynno Chressbon said Dulmatin's group was believed to have supplied about 27 weapons, including M-16s and AK-47s to the group in Aceh.
Since the 2002 Bali bombings, Indonesian authorities have captured or killed around 440 militant suspects, with around 250 convicted in courts and three executed by firing squad.
|2010-03-06 Southeast Asia|
|A group calling itself "al-Qaida in Aceh" claimed Saturday to be the target of a police crackdown in the Indonesian province, where authorities have arrested and charged suspected militants with planning terrorist attacks. |
In a statement posted on the blog hosting site WordPress.com, the group said it had survived the police crackdown and pledged to continue its jihad against "Zionist Jews and Christians and apostates." Later Saturday, WordPress blocked access to the blog for violating its terms of service. It was not possible to authenticate the statement. Police spokesman Maj. Gen. Edward Aritonang said the statement was under investigation, and could yet prove to be a hoax.
Police have arrested 16 suspected militants in a series of raids in the deeply conservative province of Aceh since Feb. 22, the latest two on Saturday. Police suspect the group is linked to Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian offshoot of al-Qaida that has been blamed for twin bombings last year on hotels in Jakarta, and 2002 bombings on the island of Bali.
"As of the 10th day of the pursuit against us, we survive to continue jihad although some of our brothers were captured and martyred," the statement said. "We hereby assure Muslims that we will uphold our pledge to jihad against the Zionist Jews and Christians and apostates until God awards us victory, or we become martyrs in the way of Allah," it added.
Sidney Jones, Jakarta-based senior adviser for the International Crisis Group think tank, said she had never heard of the group and could not say whether the statement spoke for the militants in Aceh. She said militants in the province appeared to comprise several movements, including Jemaah Islamiyah.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Friday that the group, which he did not name, had set up in Aceh believing that Indonesian security forces had lost interest in the province since a violent separatist movement ended there in 2005. He said members of the separatist movement were not part of the new group.
Police say 14 of the suspects confessed to undergoing paramilitary training, including weapons use and hand-to-hand combat. They say the militants were preparing for a terrorist attack against an undisclosed target. They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
On Saturday, two more suspected militants were arrested in Aceh but have yet to be charged, Aritonang said. He declined to detail the circumstances of those arrests.
|2010-03-05 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] INDONESIAN police have charged 14 suspected Islamist militants arrested in restive Aceh province with planning terrorist attacks and shot dead another, an official said on Thursday.|
The men were caught in several raids since Feb 22, when the first four were arrested by police after a gunbattle in a suspected militant training camp in Aceh's mountains, police spokesman Maj. Gen. Edward Aritonang said. 'We have been able to prove that they were planning terrorist acts,' he told reporters.
They confessed to undergoing paramilitary training including weapons use and hand-to-hand combat at the raided camp in preparation for a terrorist attack, he said, declining to specify the alleged target.
Under Indonesia's tough counterterrorism laws enacted in 2003, a conviction for planning a terrorist attack can carry a maximum prison term of 20 years.
Another suspect was shot dead by police after he fled with two men on a bus that was stopped at a police checkpoint before dawn Wednesday, Maj. Aritonang said. Witnesses said the other two men escaped.
Maj. Aritonang previously said one of the suspects received terrorist training overseas, but he refused to say where. Police were investigating whether the men, all Indonesian nationals, were part of the Malaysian-born terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah, he said. No other terrorist groups are known to be active in Aceh.
|2010-03-05 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] THREE captured Islamic militants had been planning to launch bomb attacks in the Philippine capital in revenge for the killing of one of their commanders last month, the military said on Thursday.|
The arrest of the three Filipinos in a Manila suburb on Wednesday thwarted the plot by the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, military spokesman Colonel Romeo Brawner said. 'They were out to do some bombings in Metro Manila, but this was foiled by their arrest,' Col. Brawner told AFP. 'It (the plot) is part of their terrorist activities and also part of their retaliation after the death of Albader Parad.'
Parad was a senior leader of the Abu Sayyaf who was killed along with five other militants in a clash with the military on the southern island of Jolo last month. Philippine authorities hailed his death as a serious blow to the Abu Sayyaf, which has been blamed for the country's worst terrorists attacks, including the bombing of a ferry in Manila in 2004 that killed more than 100 people.
Col. Brawner said three arrested men were Abu Sayyaf members, but added they had been trained in bomb-making by the Jemaah Islamiyah, a militant group which has carried out dozens of bombings in neighbouring Indonesia over the past decade. 'They were trained by the Jemaah Islamiyah, foreign Jemaah Islamiyah members,' he told AFP.
He said that with the arrest of the three, the Abu Sayyaf did not have any more operatives in Manila at the moment. 'But this will not prevent them from sending more people,' he said.
Col. Brawner declined to reveal more details of the alleged bombing plot, only saying that the three men were still being interrogated by the military. The military said shortly after the trio's arrest that they were in possession of detonating cord, blasting caps and hand grenades.
|2010-03-02 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] SEVEN men arrested in a raid by anti-terror police in a remote region of Indonesia's Aceh last week were possibly given military training overseas, police said on Monday.|
'None of them are foreigners but there's an indication that they have had training abroad,' national police spokesman Edward Aritonang told reporters, without specifying which countries.
'We're trying to get more details about this,' he said, adding that the suspects had been charged with terrorism-related activities.
More than 100 heavily-armed police took part in the raid last week in a forested part of Aceh Besar, where some 50 militants were said to be conducting military-style training including the use of firearms.
During the raid, police found rifles, Malaysian military uniforms and propaganda material including videos of the 2002 bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali which killed more than 200 people.
Provincial police chief Aditya Warman said the suspects were 'strongly suspected' of being part of regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, which is blamed for multiple attacks across Indonesia.
|2010-03-02 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] INDONESIAN police have charged four men with terrorism-related offenses after they were arrested in a raid on a suspected paramilitary training camp in the restive province of Aceh a week ago, a newspaper reported on Monday.|
Aceh Police Chief Commander Esa Permadi said the men - two from Aceh and two from the main Indonesian island of Java - had been charged under tough counterterrorism laws enacted in 2003, the Jakarta Globe newspaper reported.
The report did not give details of the charges, and police declined to comment on the report on Monday. A national police official in Jakarta, Brig. Gen. Sulistiyo Ishak, told The Associated Press that an announcement on the prisoners' status would be made on Tuesday.
The four were arrested Feb 22 when more than 100 police officers raided the suspected training camp hidden in Aceh mountains. Police are allowed to hold the four without charge until Tuesday.
Police say 50 armed militants fled into the jungle after an hour-long gunbattle in which an innocent bystander was killed in the crossfire. Police say they suspect the arrested men are part of the first cell of the Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah ever found in Aceh. But several security analysts independent of the investigation have expressed doubts about a JI link, although there are currently no other militant groups known to operate in Aceh.
Al-Qaida-linked JI has been blamed for a number of bloody attacks in Southeast Asia, including a 2002 bombing on the resort island of Bali that killed 202 people. Information gleaned from the four suspects led police to arrest another three suspected militants on Thursday in a raid on a village house in Aceh. All seven suspects are in police custody in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh.
|2010-02-28 Down Under|
|Late last year, under the watchful eye of Australia's security services, Sydney man "Abdullah" boarded a plane out of Mascot airport, bound for the Middle East. An associate of the nine-man cell that was recently convicted of preparing for a terrorist act in Sydney, the man had been under close surveillance for several years. But on this occasion, it was his destination that set red lights flashing in counter-terrorism circles. He was travelling to Yemen, now regarded among CT professionals as "the new Afghanistan" for al-Qa'ida, and a magnet for Australian and other Western supporters of the global jihadist cause.|
Abdullah was one of at least 20 Australians known to have travelled to Yemen in recent years, whose movements are being monitored by ASIO and counter-terrorism police. The group includes several people with links to the convicted terrorists who were sentenced last Monday in Sydney to up to 28 years in jail. Their activities illustrate a key point of the federal government's white paper on counter-terrorism released last week: that successes against al-Qa'ida and its affiliates in Afghanistan and Pakistan have been offset by the rise of militancy elsewhere, most notably in Yemen and neighbouring Somalia. And Australia is directly at risk as a result.
Australia's ambassador for counter-terrorism Bill Paterson reinforced the point at a national security conference in Sydney on Thursday, saying Yemen and North Africa have become "new safe havens" for global jihadists. "Yemen especially is at risk of becoming a magnet for radicalised individuals from elsewhere to join together to train and perhaps take the step from radicalism to violent extremism, and then to project back into other parts of the globe," Paterson says.
Equally worrying for the authorities are contacts between certain suspected radicals in Australia and the newly notorious American-born Yemeni-based cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. To the concern of Australian authorities, counter-terrorism agencies have monitored a stream of communications between Awlaki's group in Yemen and a small circle of followers in Australia. The contacts include mobile phone and email messages. Videotaped copies of Awlaki's sermons, in which he espouses the cause of violent jihad, have also been circulated among this group. "His teachings are of great concern to us," Detective Superintendent John O'Reilly, Commander of the NSW Police Counter-Terrorism and Special Tactics Operations Group, tells The Australian.
The activities of Abdullah, who has not returned to Australia since his recent trip to Yemen, illustrate why Australian authorities are so concerned. Abdullah had only recently had his passport returned by ASIO, after it was confiscated when he was judged "likely to support or participate in acts of politically motivated violence". ASIO's interest in him dates back to 2000 when, after doing the haj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, he continued to Pakistan with a group of friends from Sydney who went on to train with the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba, which had not at that stage been banned in Australia. When interviewed later by the Australian Federal Police, Abdullah denied undergoing training. However former Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks told the AFP that he and Abdullah trained in the same camp at the same time.
Abdullah was interviewed by ASIO seven times between 2000 and 2004, and several more times after that date. His home was raided in 2002 and again in 2005. The agency's interest was piqued by the fact he was working at the Indo-Malay halal butchery in Lakemba in Sydney's southwest, which was run by an Indonesian-Australian identified as the deputy leader of the Australian branch of the Indonesian militant group, Jemaah Islamiah. The butchery, which was under surveillance and had its phones tapped, was also a contact point for the French terrorist Willie Brigitte in 2003.
Abdullah was investigated again during Operation Pendennis, which resulted in the arrests and convictions of the nine-man Sydney terror cell, the last of whom were sentenced last week. Evidence produced by the crown revealed that Abdullah had been involved in the purchase of laboratory equipment with one of the cell members. He claimed it was for use in his perfume business. However, judge Anthony Whealy said in his sentencing remarks that the equipment "was plainly to be used for the purposes of the conspiracy". The police were keen to charge Abdullah but the evidence against him was deemed to be weaker than that against the nine men who were ultimately charged.
Abdullah had first planned to move to Yemen with his wife and eight children in 2004, but his passport was confiscated by ASIO on the eve of his departure. He told ASIO his visa to Yemen had been arranged by a friend from Sydney, a Polish-born Australian, Marek Samulski, who was already living in Yemen. Samulski was arrested in the Yemeni capital Sanaa in October 2006, and accused by Yemeni police of being part of an al-Qa'ida ring that was funnelling weapons to the Islamist insurgency in neighbouring Somalia.
Two other Australians, who had long been of keen interest to security agencies, were also detained in the Sanaa raid. They were two brothers, Mustafa and Ilyas bin Ayub, the sons of one-time Australian JI leader, Abdul Rahim Ayub, and his former wife, Sydney woman Rabiah Hutchinson. The brothers had travelled to Yemen to undertake Islamic studies and lived in the same apartment block as Samulski. The Yemeni Interior Ministry claimed initially that the three Australians had confessed to involvement in al-Qa'ida weapons smuggling. But the Ayub brothers were released without charge after seven weeks, when their Yemeni lawyer announced that the allegations against them had been found to be false. Samulski was detained for longer while his file was referred to terrorism prosecutors for possible charges. But he too was ultimately released without charge. He has not returned to Australia since.
|2010-02-25 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] Indonesian police said yesterday they had arrested four people after a major raid on a terrorist training camp in a remote region of Aceh province and were pursuing dozens who escaped.|
Aceh police chief Aditya Warman said some 50 militants were using the camp and 'strongly suspected' of being part of regional terror group Jemaah Islamiah (JI), blamed for multiple attacks across Indonesia.
More than 100 heavily armed police took part in the raid just before midnight on Monday in a forested part of Aceh Besar district, about 70km east of the provincial capital Banda Aceh, he said.
Police found rifles, Malaysian military uniforms and terrorist propaganda material, including videos of the 2002 bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali which killed more than 200 people, mainly Western tourists.
JI, the regional terror group linked to Al-Qaeda, is blamed for that attack and others over the past decade.
'We received information that there were training activities comprising 50 people from a group suspected to be related to Jemaah Islamiah,' Mr Aditya said. 'The group keeps moving around to avoid police detection. They have moved over four districts.
|2010-02-24 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] A SAUDI man will stand trial in Indonesia on Wednesday accused of financing twin suicide bombings on luxury hotels in Jakarta last year that killed seven people. |
Al Khelaiw Ali Abdullah, 'provided assistance and facilities to the terrorists by way of giving or lending money, things, or other wealth', according to a copy of the indictment obtained by AFP.
Prosecutor Totok Bambang is expected to argue that the defendant, who was arrested shortly after the July 17 attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, provided the funding that pushed the plot into an operational phase. Attack ringleader Noordin Mohammed Top, who was killed by police in September, told one of the suicide bombers to prepare for death after the money arrived from the Middle East, the indictment says.
Police have said they are investigating whether the money came from Al-Qaeda, which has allegedly funded previous attacks linked to Noordin and regional terror group Jemaah Islamiah (JI).
Prosecutors said Ali Abdullah worked with Noordin accomplices Syaifudin Zuhri, who was killed by police in October, and the alleged driver, Amir Abdillah, to channel funds to the plotters. Abdillah is standing trial in separate proceedings for his alleged role in the attacks.
Another suspect, prominent Islamist blogger Mohammed Jibril Abdurahman, went on trial on Tuesday charged with concealing information about a terrorist act and falsifying a passport which he used to enter Saudi Arabia in September, 2008.
|2010-02-23 Southeast Asia|
|Indonesian police said Tuesday they had arrested four people after a major raid on a terrorist training camp in a remote region of Aceh province and were pursuing dozens who escaped. Aceh police chief Aditya Warman said some 50 militants were using the camp and "strongly suspected" of being part of regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), blamed for multiple attacks across Indonesia.|
More than 100 heavily armed police took part in the raid just before midnight Monday in a forested part of Aceh Besar district, about 70 kilometres (40 miles) east of the provincial capital Banda Aceh. The militants were conducting military-style training including the use of firearms. Only three were caught in the raid and the rest escaped into the jungle, the police chief said. A police spokesman later updated the number arrested to four.
Police found rifles, Malaysian military uniforms and terrorist propaganda material including videos of the 2002 bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali which killed more than 200 people, mainly Western tourists.
"We received information that there were training activities comprising 50 people from a group suspected to be related to Jemaah Islamiyah," Warman said. "The group keeps moving around to avoid police detection. They have moved over four districts.
"We found books on jihad (holy war), CDs on bombings in Bali and other areas, Malaysian military uniforms. There's a jacket with the word 'Jemaah' ('congregation') on it, among other things."
The police chief said operations were ongoing to track down the remaining suspects. "We've known about them since September but we couldn't find them until now," he said, adding that the group included foreigners who were able to "blend in" with locals.
"We're very careful when dealing with this group so we must coordinate with national police," Warman said. "We will continue to chase them."
|2010-02-21 Southeast Asia|
|A senior Islamic militant was among six killed in an assault by Philippines troops on a rebel camp on the southern island of Jolo, officials say.|
Abu Sayyaf commander Albader Parad was wanted for the abduction of three Red Cross workers on the island last year.
Gen Benjamin Dolorfino said his death was a "big blow" to the group. "We have confirmed that one of the six bodies found belonged to Albader Parad as confirmed by independent civilian sources," said Gen Dolorfino. "We consider it a big blow on the cause of Islamic militants in the south."
He said Sunday's raid was carried out after tip-offs from local residents.
One marine was killed and three were wounded during the assault.
Philippine officials said in December 2009 that they had arrested an Abu Sayyaf founder - Abdul Basir Latip - who has allegedly been involved in kidnapping foreigners and Christians. He has also been accused of forging links between Abu Sayyaf and other militant Islamist groups, such as Jemaah Islamiah and al-Qaeda
|2010-02-20 Southeast Asia|
|Indonesia has fallen off the map of the most-terror-prone places on Earth, corporate intelligence forecasters say. How did that happen in a nation once plagued by Bali's bombers? By annihilating the enemy.|
We watched it happen here. I was surprised in some respects, informed in others, gratified in still others...
This week, Britain's Maplecroft group, an assessor of corporate risk, dropped Indonesia from its top 10 nations most likely to experience a mass-casualty terrorist attack. The group bases its Terrorism Risk Index entries on frequency and intensity of terror attacks and a nation's history. Likewise, the Swedish National Defense College has concluded that there's a diminishing threat in Indonesia.
That's not the same as no threat at all, but it's a substantial improvement...
If that sounds academic, consider that Indonesian and U.S. officials said no significant security risks threaten President Obama ahead of his weeklong trip to Indonesia next month.
If there's anything there you can be sure it'll put in an appearance when the U.S. prez arrives...
Now, to be sure, terrorism isn't completely gone from Indonesia. But there's been a lot of silence recently from that island country on the terror front. For a nation that experienced some fearsome terror attacks in past years, each quiet month is a sign of victory.
So why has the threat dropped off so dramatically, Johnny?
The reason isn't hard to recognize:Last September, Indonesian commandos blew away a Malaysian terrorist named Noordin Mohammed Top, who had a hand in every major Indonesian terror attack since the first Bali bombing of 2002. It says something that getting rid of a single terrorist kingpin could have such an impact on Indonesia's outlook. But it did.
Noordin was the last of the Jemaah Islamiyah majors. The reason his demise was significant was that there now aren't any more of them left. That entire crop is either worm food or they've moved indoors for extended periods.
That offers a reminder of what it takes to win a war on terror. Miranda warnings, civilian trials and shaking down blue-haired ladies at airports don't do it. Hunting and killing terrorists do.
And leave us not forget good intel. You have to know who to hunt down and where to look...
That's important because some analysts, such as Jakarta-based senior adviser Sidney Jones of Crisis Group International, have claimed Indonesia's progress is a result of turning the war on terror into a police action. She explained in a January interview with Voice of America that civilian trials helped win public trust.
Sidney's a nice lady, but she's a touchy-feely sort from what I understand.
She's not completely wrong, but to look at what Indonesia did suggests more of a militarization of its police forces than trust in the routine civilian mechanisms of police action. Indonesia treated terrorism with the urgency of warfare, even if its police took the lead. That was possible only because of strong leadership and big public backing.
The leadership, recall, didn't come from the top down, which I consider damned significant. In October 2002 Indonesia was under the mushy hopey changey leadership of Megawati Sukarnoputri. Her vice president, the loathsome Hamzah Haz, was an Islamist who had spent the past year contemptuously pooh-poohing the idea of any kind of Islamic terror threat, hanging around with Abu Bakr Bashir and Jafar Umar Thalib. When the bad guyz detonated it was the guy who's the current president, then the relatively obscure Coordinating Minister of Political and Security Affairs in Mega's cabinet who took the ball and ran with it in spite of (not because of) the lacklusters at the top.
Both reflect Indonesia's democracy and growing political freedom, which studies show repel terror. And no, the country didn't turn into a military state by treating terror as war. Indonesians set the actions into motion by electing a military man, Bambang Susilo Yudhoyono, as their president in 2004 and by reelecting him in 2009. The Indonesian general ran on a tough anti-terrorist platform and kept his word on that.
I think he was elected because of his bulldog tenacity in hunting down Jemaah Islamiyah. Hamzah Haz ran in the 2004 election and came in dead last, with 3 percent of the vote. SBY followed his intel leads and he did as nice a job of network analysis as you could want to see. All of the JI members were neatly tied together, virtually all of them through blood or marriage relationships -- as we commented at the time, and they were all family. The entire threat to national security was shown to consist of about 60 people, maybe 70 or 75 by the time Noordin finally got done recruiting and burning new fodder. Sidney can say it was a "police problem," but from here it looked like it was solved as an intel problem.
|2010-02-10 Southeast Asia|
|A suspected member of late terror leader Noordin Mohammad Top's network appeared in an Indonesian court Wednesday charged over twin suicide attacks on luxury hotels in Jakarta last year.|
The bombings killed seven people as well as the two suicide bombers and marked the bloody end of a four-year hiatus in attacks attributed to Noordin and Al-Qaeda-linked regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah.
Noordin's alleged driver, Amir Abdillah, could face multiple death sentences if convicted on charges including carrying out an act of terrorism, providing explosive materials and harbouring terrorist suspects.
Prosecutors said he was also part of a plot to assassinate Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and had booked a room at the JW Marriott hotel which the hotel bombers used to prepare their attacks.
"He assisted in an act of terrorism by way of purposely using violence and stirring an atmosphere of terror and widespread fear," prosecutor Totok Bambang said.
Two Islamic extremists with backpacks filled with homemade bombs blew themselves up at the neighbouring JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels in downtown Jakarta on July 17.
Abdillah wore the white garb of a devout Muslim, joked with journalists and smiled during the hearing, but was not required to enter a plea.
Police have said his arrest shortly after the hotel blasts was crucial to subsequent operations which ultimately led to the killing or capture of Malaysian Islamist Noordin and several of his accomplices.
|2010-01-30 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] AN ISLAMIC extremist accused of killing 22 people in the bombing of a Christian market in Indonesia in 2005 has been arrested, the police said on Friday.|
Police said Eko Budi Wardoyo, also known as Ada Munsih or Amin, was caught a week ago in Sidoarjo, East Java province.
'The police have succeeded in arresting a suspect who was involved in the bombing in Tentena, Poso, in 2005,' police spokesman Edward Aritonang said.
'He was also involved in the shooting of priest Susianti Tinulele, and the bombing of the Tual market in Palu,' Mr Aritonang said.
On May 28, 2005, two bombs tore through a meat market in the mainly Christian town of Tentena, in Central Sulawesi's Poso Regency, in an attack blamed on regional Islamic terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). Police would not comment on whether Wardoyo was a member of JI.
Tinulele was shot dead in a church in Palu, Central Sulawesi's capital, in July, 2004.
|[Dawn] The Philippine military doubts reports that a Filipino terror suspect was killed in a US missile attack in Pakistan, with one senior officer telling The Associated Press Thursday that the militant was sighted last week in the Philippines' volatile south.|
Pakistani military intelligence officers said last week that Abdul Basit Usman, who is wanted by the United States, was believed killed in an American drone strike on Jan. 14 on the border of Pakistan's South and North Waziristan tribal regions.
Another 11 militants were also killed in the strike on a militant compound near the Afghan border. Authorities have previously said the attack had targeted the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud.
US and Philippine military officials tried to verify the report. If confirmed, it could indicate stronger ties between Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network and Southeast Asian terrorist groups than previously thought.
Philippine military spokesman Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner said their intelligence indicates so far that Usman has not left the country and is hiding in Muslim guerrilla strongholds in the south's mountainous heartland.
The military, however, will continue to investigate and will be ready to cooperate with Pakistani authorities in conducting DNA tests if tissue samples from the slain militant can be secured.
'There is a bigger probability that it's not him, than it's him,' Brawner said.
The slain militant appears to have been a different person, also named Usman, said US and Filipino military officials who oversee counterterrorism operations in the southern Philippines. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of their work.
The Philippine military official told The AP that Usman was sighted near southern Maguindanao province last week, adding he was '99 percent sure that he's still here in the country.'
The US State Department's list of most-wanted terrorists identifies Usman as a bomb-making expert with links to the Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf extremist group and the Southeast Asian Jemaah Islamiyah network. It offers $1 million for information leading to his conviction, and says he is believed responsible for bombings in the southern Philippines in 2006 and 2007 that killed 15 people.
Philippine police captured Usman in 2002 for a bomb attack that killed 15 people and wounded 100 others in the southern port city of General Santos, but he escaped from jail, according to police.
Usman was among those charged for allegedly helping plot an Oct. 10, 2006 bombing that killed eight people and wounded 28 others near a Roman Catholic church during a fiesta celebration in Makilala town in southern North Cotabato province.
He also was charged in another bombing that day that wounded four people in a crowded public market in southern Tacurong city.
Usman has not been convicted of any of the crimes.
|2010-01-28 Home Front: WoT|
|The men, aged between 20 and 50 years old, were attending a religious meeting in Kuala Lumpur when they were detained by police.|
Malaysia's interior minister said police were tipped off by international intelligence agencies that the meeting was being held by an Islamic religious group. The government-linked New Straits Times newspaper claims that US intelligence had alerted Malaysian authorities to the meeting, and that the 10 men are linked to Abdulmutallab.
The 10 suspects are from Malaysia, Syria, Nigeria, Jordan and Yemen.
Abdulmutallab -- who studied mechanical engineering at University College, London from 2005 -- 2008 -- was arrested after he attempted to detonate explosives sewn into his underwear on-board Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit.
"They posed a serious security threat and have been detained under the ISA (Internal Security Act)," said Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. "I can confirm that they were linked to an international terrorist organisation but I cannot share any further information as this would jeopardise ongoing investigations."
"I can say no more!"
The ISA allows indefinite detention without trial in Malaysia, and has been attacked by human rights groups for giving the government too much power. It was introduced during the British colonial era for use against communist insurgents. It has been used in recent years to detain opponents of the government and the regional Islamic terrorist group, Jemaah Islamiyah.
|[Dawn] Philippine authorities said Friday they were investigating reports that one of the country's most wanted militants may have been killed by a US missile strike in Pakistan.|
Abdul Basit Usman was among several people believed to have been killed on January 14 in a US drone attack that targeted Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in a remote area of northern Pakistan, according to various media reports.
"If the reports are true then it is good news for us because the killing of Basit Usman means one less terrorist on the street," Lieutenant General Benjamin Dolorfino, military commander in the southwestern Philippines, told AFP.
But he added: "We still have to verify the reports." Dolorfino said Usman was involved in many deadly bombings in the southern Philippines' Mindanao region, where insurgents have waged a decades-old separatist rebellion in which more than 150,000 people have died.
The US government has offered one million-dollar bounty for information leading to Usman's capture, according to its "Rewards for Justice" website.
The website, run by the US State Department, described him as a bomb-making expert with links to the Abu Sayyaf, a Philippines' militant organisation blamed for the nation's worst attacks.
It also said he had links to Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian extremist group that is linked to Al-Qaeda and been blamed for major attacks including the 2002 Bali bombings in Indonesia that killed 202 people.
"US authorities consider Basit to be a threat to US and Filipino citizens and interests. Basit is believed to have orchestrated several bombings that have killed, injured, and maimed many innocent civilians," the website said.
The Philippine military previously said Usman also had links to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the nation's largest Muslim guerrilla group that has led the long-running rebellion in the south.
MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said it was also looking into the reports Usman had been killed, while reiterating the group's position that it was not involved with him.
"We are trying to verify (those) reports," Kabalu said.
"As far as we know, Usman had links with Jemaah Islamiyah and Al-Qaeda, and could be fighting alongside the Taliban, which has links with Al-Qaeda."
|2010-01-21 Terror Networks|
If confirmed, the death of Abdul Basit Usman would represent another success for the U.S. covert missile program on targets in Pakistan. There have been an unprecedented number of attacks this month following a deadly Dec. 30 militant attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan.
Two military intelligence officers in northwestern Pakistan said Usman was believed killed on Jan. 14 on the border of Pakistan's South and North Waziristan tribal regions. Another 11 militants were also killed in the strike on a militant compound. Authorities have previously said the attack had targeted the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud.
There had been no previous indication Usman was in Pakistan. If the reports of his death in Pakistan are true, it may indicate stronger ties between al-Qaida and Southeast Asian terrorist groups than previously thought.
The U.S. State Department's list of most-wanted terrorists identifies Usman as a bomb-making expert with links to the Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf militant group and the Southeast Asian Jemaah Islamiyah network. It puts a bounty of U.S. $1 million for information leading to his conviction, and says he is believed responsible for bombings in the southern Philippines in 2006 and 2007 that killed 15 people.
|2010-01-19 Southeast Asia|
|THE family of alleged Bali bombing mastermind Hambali said they were relieved by the news he may soon face trial in the United States.|
Hambali, also known as Riduan Isamuddin, is accused of being the main linkman between al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah, the terrorist group blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.
He was captured in Thailand in 2003 and has been detained by the US at the Guantanamo Bay prison, in Cuba, since 2006.
The Obama administration is reportedly considering trying Hambali in Washington as it proceeds with plans to close the controversial prison.
Hambali's family in West Java have welcomed the end to years of uncertainty about his fate, despite their fears a US trial may lead to his execution.
"Thank God if there can be certainty for my brother," Hambali's younger brother Kankan Abdul Qadir told the Jakarta Globe newspaper.
"Our mother, Mariyani, also continues to pray for my brother."
Kankan said the family wanted the Indonesian Government to help them travel to Washington and get US approval to meet with Hambali.
Hambali has not seen his family for more than a decade but he has sent them letters since his detention at Guantanamo Bay.
|2009-12-30 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] INDONESIAN police said the brother and father-in-law of Noordin Mohammad Top, one of Asia's most wanted men before he was killed in a raid in September, were being held on suspicion of hiding the late militant.|
Malaysian-born Top set up a violent splinter group of regional militant network Jemaah Islamiah, which was responsible for a series of attacks in Indonesia including the bombing of two luxury hotel bombings in Jakarta in July.
Mr Sumardi said police were investigating the network linked to Baridin, who was being held in Jakarta. Police have previously accused Top's father-in-law, who was a veteran of the Afghanistan conflict, of being a key figure in Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia.
The militant has been on the run since fleeing just before a raid earlier this year in which police found a cache of explosive material in the back garden of his home in Cilacap, Central Java. Baridin's daughter married Top in 2006 and the couple had two children, according to the International Crisis Group.
Tito Karnavian, the head of Indonesia's anti-terrorism unit Detachment 88, said last week that despite set backs militant cells in Indonesia were still actively recruiting new members and planning attacks, the Jakarta Post reported.
|[The News (Pak) Top Stories] Pakistan's army once ran training camps for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LT) militant group with the apparent knowledge of the CIA, an example of complicity that raises questions about the current state of the nuclear-armed nation. So says former French investigating magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere, author of a new book that provides rare insight both into alleged past army support for the defunct Lashkar-e-Taiba and to the group's connections to a global network linked to al-Qaeda.|
The question of Pakistani military support for Islamist militants is crucial for the United States as it tries to work out how to stabilise the country and neighbouring Afghanistan.Bruguiere bases the information in his book on international terrorism, "Ce que je n'ai pas pu dire" ("What I could not say") on testimony given by jailed Frenchman Willy Brigitte, who spent 2-1/2 months in a Lashkar-e-Taiba training camp in 2001-02.
In an interview, Bruguiere said he was convinced Lashkar-e-Taiba, first set up to fight India in its part of the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir, had become part of an international network tied to al-Qaeda. "Lashkar-e-Taiba is no longer a Pakistani movement with only a Kashmir political or military agenda. Lashkar-e-Taiba is a member of al-Qaeda. Lashkar-e-Taiba has decided to expand violence worldwide," he told Reuters.
That's pretty much a given, isn't it? They provide training facilities and cadres for al-Qaeda. Three of them were arrested in Bangla in today's news plotting and kaboom the U.S. embassy in Dhaka in an expression of the Bangla people's outrage at our existence...
He was "very, very anxious about the situation" in Pakistan, where militants are staging a series of bloody urban attacks to avenge a government offensive against their strongholds. "The problem right now is to know if the Pakistanis have sufficient power to control the situation," he said.
They don't. If they change their ways they might in the future, but they're not really changing their ways. They're trying to go after the Pak Taliban but not the al-Qaeda infrastructure or the Afghan Taliban infrastructure in Balochistan and North Wazoo.
The problem was also "to know if all the members of the military forces and the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence agency) are playing the same game. I am not sure," he added.
I'm sure they're not, and I'm also sure that the ones who aren't are not "rogue."
Pakistan has long been accused of giving covert support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was blamed for last year's attack on Mumbai in which 166 people were killed. It denies the allegation and has banned the organisation.
But Hafiz Saeed isn't in jug, the charges against him were dropped and he never did more than house arrest. Pak military trainers provided training and logistical assistance the the Mumbai killers. And LeT is about as "defunct" as I am, maybe less so.
New form of terrorism: Bruguiere said he became aware of the changing nature of international terrorism while investigating attacks in Paris in the mid-1990s by the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA). These included an attempt to hijack a plane from Algiers to Paris in 1994 and crash it into the Eiffel Tower -- a forerunner of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks. The plane was diverted to Marseilles and stormed by French security forces.
This new style of international terrorism was quite unlike militant groups he had investigated in the past, with their pyramidal structures and political objectives. "After 1994/1995, like viruses, all the groups have been spreading on a very large scale all over the world, in a horizontal way and even a random way," he said.
It doesn't cost much to be a terrorist. The November 14th-Red Brigades-Baader Meinhof model works perfectly well for small-scale operations, and even big blow-outs like killing Aldo Moro, if you're willing to take the casualties. Note that Jemaah Islamiyah, for instance, was effectively wiped out after the Bali bombings.
An early encounter with Lashkar-e-Taiba came while he was investigating shoe-bomber Richard Reid, who tried to set off explosives on a transatlantic flight from Paris in 2001. This investigation led to a man, who Bruguiere said was the Lashkar-e-Taiba's representative in Paris, and who was suspected of helping Reid -- an accusation he denied. Bruguiere said the link to Reid was not proved in court.
During his 2-1/2 months stay at the camp, Bruguiere says, Brigitte realised the instructors were soldiers on detachment. Military supplies were dropped by army helicopters. Brigitte said he and other foreigners were forced four times to leave the camp and move further up into the hills to avoid being caught by CIA officers. They were believed to be checking if Pakistan had kept to a deal under which the Americans turned a blind eye to Lashkar camps in Punjab provided no foreigners were trained there. In return, Bruguiere said, Pakistan under then president Pervez Musharraf helped track down leaders of al-Qaeda.
Double standards: Western countries were at the time accused by India of double standards in tolerating Pakistani support for Kashmir-focused organisations while pushing it to crack down on militant groups which threatened Western interests. Diplomats say that attitude has since changed, particularly after bombings in London in 2005 highlighted the risks of "home-grown terrorism" in Britain linked to militant groups based in Pakistan's Punjab province.
After leaving the camp accompanied by Sajid, Brigitte was sent back to France. Sajid then ordered him to fly to Australia where he joined a cell later accused of plotting attacks there. Tipped off by French police, Brigitte was deported from Australia in 2003 and convicted by a French court of links to terrorism.
Bruguiere said he had personally questioned Brigitte in the presence of his lawyer to check his testimony. Information provided by Brigitte was also crosschecked by French police based on mobile phone and e-mail traffic. Bruguiere went to Pakistan himself in 2006 as part of his investigations into the deaths of 11 Frenchmen in a bombing outside a hotel in Karachi in 2002. He stepped down as France's best-known counter-terrorism expert in 2007 and now represents the EU on the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme in Washington.
|By Ashok Malik|
Many Indians fear the collapse of Pakistan and the imminent takeover of the state by a rampaging army ofAllah. They worry the Pakistani elite English speaking, whisky drinking, Western and liberal in its personal lives will simply run away, leaving behind a rump civil society: Illiterate and undereducated millions who will become cannon fodder for the Islamists.
Reality may not be so black and white. It is more likely the Islamisation of Pakistans polity and society the tussle between an upper crust that is half embarrassed, half in denial and, at the back of its mind, very, very afraid, and the mullah-jihadi duumvirate will be a gradual one.
For security reasons, external powers will shore up the nominally secular or moderate elite. The debate between local traditions and mono-cultural, Arab interpretations of Islam will be long drawn, and while headed in one direction will not end in one day, perhaps not even in one century. What it will do, however, is paralyse a society and not let it achieve its potential.
How do we know this? Is there a template for Pakistan? Perhaps there is no one template but several, spread across failed states and a variety of Islamic societies caught in a wrenching struggle between the call of a supranational faith and a modernity rooted in nationalism. The author may not have intended it that way, but Sadanand Dhumes book My Friend, the Fanatic (Tranquebar), just released in India, not only interrogates Indonesias conversion, inch by inch, from a country of pluralist Muslims to one where Islamism is clearly on the ascendant, but also offers us a prism through which to understand Pakistan.
As Dhume, a Washington-based writer and cartographer of the many social Islams that inevitably seem to gravitate towards the one political Islam, puts it in a conversation, Indonesia represents the eastern edge of a historical contest between the Sanskritic and Arabist civilisations. The contest was lost centuries ago at its western end Afghanistan and has ceded ground, by miles rather than inches, in Pakistan.
In 1947, Pakistan was a Muslim homeland but still a South Asian country, very much situated in the ethos of the Indian subcontinent. Today, it looks in the direction of West Asia and the Arabian desert for a mother culture and a societal anchor. Likewise, says Dhume, the young Muslim boys and girls growing up in Java are probably the first generation in their communities who do not know who Bhima and Arjuna were. Islamist preachers have, for instance, forbidden rice farmers worshipping a local goddess of fertility, whose origins lie in a pre-Islamic veneration of agriculture.
Indeed, the evolution of Indonesian society in the period following the 2002 Bali bombings is particularly insightful. Dhume reports this in real time. Landing in Bali as a news reporter the day after the attack on the Sari nightclub killed some 150 Australian tourists, he was fascinated by the radicalism that was beginning to become more than just a fringe movement in a country he had travelled to and lived in. He quit his job and decided to become a chronicler of Indonesias new engagement with Islam.
The book is a result of those efforts. Dhume captures a period when the Islamisation debate was no more a passive, theoretical discussion. It acquired a trenchant edge and was, to use a colloquial expression, very in-your-face. It was a period that forced people to make choices, and also pushed upper class elites into denial, dissimulation, saying different things to different audiences, and pretending the problem would resolve itself. In a sense, this could describe Pakistan after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December 2007.
There are other parallels. Each time there is a Taliban-triggered bombing in, say, Peshawar, crowds gather and chant slogans against America and India. After the Bali bombings, Indonesia was subjected to numerous and fairly complicated theories arguing American and Israeli intelligence were behind the massacre.
There were comic phenomena, and then there were chilling ones. After Bali, Abu Bakar Bashir, leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah, became a terrorist icon and South-East Asias Osama bin Laden. In large swathes of Indonesia, however, he was anointed a folk hero. Herry, the friend and fanatic Dhume refers to in his book title, named Bashir Man of the Year on the cover of the magazine he (Herry) edited.
Herry takes Dhume to meet Bashir in his prison cell, greeting the evil genius as ustad (a term of respect with origins in Arabic rather than Bahasa or any known Indonesian language). Bashir is blunt: Bush said if youre not with us youre against us. Im against them. Its a choice like water and fire, or between carrots and steak. Im a Muslim. Im a leader of Hezbollah (the party of God); he is the leader of the kafirs.
Bashir had made his choice. He expected everybody in Indonesia to make theirs too or face the consequences.
In the time Dhume knows them, Herry and wife have two daughters. The first is named Draupadi, as is so common with Indonesians comfortable with a Muslim religious identity and a Hindu cultural idiom. By the time the younger daughter, Ziyadilma, comes along, Herry has exorcised himself of his pre-Islamic legacy (or baggage). He is now writing pamphlets called Signs of Freemasons and Zionists in Indonesia, exploring hidden meanings in pyramids on United States dollar bills and combining economic grievance with religious prejudice holding forth on the Jewish characteristics of the Chinese.
Is it any different from street discourse in Lahore or Rawalpindi denouncing the scheming Hindu lalas? The economically successful neighbour is always a problem, in Mexico as much as in North Korea. In Islamist mythology, however, the successful neighbour is also the religious infidel, a regional variant of the grasping Shylockian Jew.
In the past half-decade, Indonesia has not surrendered to JI or to the Islamist political parties. Rather, pushed by Australia, it has busted terror cells, and its elite continue their libertine partying amid the dazzle of upmarket Jakarta. The economy too has begun to recover. Yet, even in a country blessed with enormous natural resources and rich economic and social achievement this is not going to be enough. The Islamist straitjacket can be pushed back but never broken. To think that could be Pakistans best case scenario.
|2009-10-09 Southeast Asia|
|JAKARTA -- Indonesian anti-terror forces killed two brothers wanted over the July 17 hotel bombings during a raid Friday on a militant hideout in the city, a police source said. Asked to confirm local media reports that Syaifudin Zuhri bin Jaelani and Mohammed Syahrir were the two men killed in the raid, the source from the elite counter-terror squad said only: "Yes".|
"I can say no more."
A police spokesman told a press conference later Friday that the brothers were the targets of the raid and confirmed that two men had been killed. But he refused to identify the dead men, saying the results of forensic examinations on the bodies would be announced on Monday.
Jaelani is a Yemen-educated Islamic extremist and "healer" who is accused of recruiting the two suicide bombers who detonated themselves at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta in July, killing seven people. His brother, Mohammed Syahrir, once worked as a technician for national airline Garuda Indonesia and is known to police from their investigations into the 2004 truck bombing of the Australian embassy, according to analysts.
The brothers were accomplices of slain Malaysian terror leader Noordin Mohammed Top, the alleged mastermind of the hotel attacks who was killed by police in Central Java on September 17.
Rolling up his network. Sweet
Gunfire and an explosion were heard as police raided the house in Ciputat on the capital's southern outskirts, witnesses said. Police spokesman Nanan Soekarna said the suspects threw "firebombs" at the raiding party before they were killed.
"You'll never take us alive, coppers!"
Ikbal Tanjung, who rented another room in the two-storey house, said three people had recently moved into the room targeted by police. They kept to themselves and did not mix with their neighbours, who were mostly university students, he added.
According to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank, the brothers were "pivotal" members of the terror cell that carried out the hotel attacks. Two of their sisters were married to other key figures in the cell, the ICG said in an August report.
That fits the standard islamic terror cell profile.
Jaelani "almost certainly had direct contact with Al-Qaeda" but was not known to police before the hotel attacks, the report said.
Noordin led a splinter faction of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror group, which he once dubbed "Al-Qaeda in the Malay Archipelago". In addition to the July hotel blasts, he was blamed for a 2003 attack on the Marriott, the 2004 bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta and 2005 attacks on tourist restaurants on Bali, killing almost 50 people in total.
Another of his disciples who is believed to have helped him hide from police handed himself in to authorities a week ago.
A week in the tender custody of the Indo cops, possibly he gave up the brothers
Bet it only took a day, the remaining six were on the house ...
Noordin and his followers dreamt of creating an Islamic caliphate spanning much of Southeast Asia and advocated the use of indiscriminate violence to protect Muslims from perceived oppression around the world. He was inspired by Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's call for global jihad against the West and allegedly received funding from Al-Qaeda for the first Marriott bombing.
|2009-10-05 Southeast Asia|
| Authorities are on heightened alert in Zamboanga City following the fighting between troops and rebels in Sulu province. Zamboanga City, which had been previously bombed by Abu Sayyaf, is currently celebrating the weeklong Hermosa Festival in honor of the Virgin Mary locally known as Our Lady of the Pilar, its patron saint.|
A regional military commander, Marine Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino, said they would launch Monday a new hotline that would allow citizens to send text messages from their cell phones or inform authorities about suspicious persons or information that could prevent terrorism.
We are going to launch this on Monday so citizens can easily and quickly provide information through SMS [short message system] from their cell phones, Dolorfino said. Besides the new hotline number, police also have telephone numbers 166 and 117 posted in many areas in Zamboanga City where citizens can call at anytime in case of an emergency similar to 911 in the United States.
Government forces are battling Moro rebels since last month in the province and had already killed at least 45 gunmen and soldiers, including two members of the US Special Forces.
The Bangsamoro National Liberation Army (BNLA) warned of more attacks against the military and civilian targets in the Philippines in retaliation to the continued government offensive against rebels in Sulu. The shadowy group, an ally of the Moro National Liberation Front, has claimed responsibility for the September 29 roadside bombing in Sulu that killed US soldiers Sergeant First Class Christopher Shaw and Staff Sergeant Jack Martin 3rd.
Madarang Sali, BNLA deputy supreme commander, rebel forces have declared a holy war against the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine government. He said the BNLA is headed by Lt. Gen. Abdulnasser Iskandar, while the Moro National Liberation Front are under the command of Ustadz Habier Malik, Khaid Ajibun and Tahil Usman. Sali said only 10 MNLF rebels were killed in the fightingseven under Malik and three more under the command of Ajibun.
Dolorfino said troops were tracking down at least four most senior Abu Sayyaf leadersDr Abu, Albader Parad, Isnilon Hapilon and Yasser Igasanincluding two foreign Jemaah Islamiah terrorists Mauiya and Quayem and some 200 followers.
|2009-10-03 Southeast Asia|
|A CLOSE aide of slain Malaysian terror leader Noordin Mohammed Top has handed himself in to Indonesian authorities, police said Saturday. National police spokesman Nanan Soekarna said in a text message Aris Ma'ruf, 23, surrendered to police in the Central Java district of Temanggung late Friday after months on the run.|
Mr Soekarna did not say if Ma'ruf would be charged with any crime. Under Indonesian law, a person detained in connection with terrorism can be held for seven days before being declared a suspect.
International Crisis Group analyst Sidney Jones said Ma'ruf had been an acolyte of Noordin, 41, who had helped hide him from police during his six-year manhunt.
Noordin, who was killed in a bloody raid by the police last month in Central Java, is believed to have masterminded the July suicide bombing of Jakarta's JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels that left seven people dead. The 41-year old Malaysian national was also blamed for a 2003 attack on the Marriott that killed 12 people, as well as the 2004 bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta and 2005 attacks on tourist restaurants on the holiday island of Bali.
Noordin, a former accountant, led a violent splinter faction of the radical Jemaah Islamiyah network that he once dubbed 'Al-Qaeda in the Malay Archipelago'. His body was buried with full Muslim rites in the Malaysian state of Johor on Friday.
|2009-09-26 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] THE body of slain Islamist militant leader Noordin Mohammed Top will be returned to Malaysia next week, Indonesia's police chief said Friday.|
'On Thursday, God willing, (Noordin's) family will come here to take the body to Johor, Malaysia,' national police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri told reporters.
Malaysian Noordin, a 41-year-old who led a violent splinter faction of the radical Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) network was killed along with three other militants at the bloody end of a nine-hour siege in Central Java last week. Police said earlier in the week they had decided to hand Noordin's body over to his first wife in Malaysia, Rahmah Rusdi, with whom he had three children.
Two other women he had married while on the run in Indonesia had their request to access the body turned down by Indonesian police because their marriages were never officially registered.
Police also announced Friday that three people who were arrested during last week's swoop near Solo city had been officially named suspects, a legal move allowing them to be held for longer.
Supono, alias Kedu, faces likely terror charges for assisting Noordin and helping in a foiled plot to blow up the home of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with a truck bomb, police spokesman Nanan Soekarna said.
Another suspect, Bejo, faces charges over helping to shelter Noordin. Putri Munawaroh, the wife of one of the militants killed in the raid, also faces charges of sheltering Noordin.
The death of Noordin brought to an end an exhaustive manhunt for a man who led an organisation he once labelled 'Al-Qaeda in the Malay Archipelago' and who was blamed for a string of deadly attacks.
He is believed to have masterminded the meticulously planned double suicide bombing of the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in the Indonesian capital Jakarta in July in which seven people were killed.
He is also said to have been behind a 2003 attack on the Marriott that killed 12 people, as well as the 2004 bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta and 2005 attacks on tourist restaurants on the holiday island of Bali.
|2009-09-22 Southeast Asia|
|[Straits Times] JEMAAH Islamiah (JI) militant Mas Selamat Kastari is happy to be detained in Malaysia, but he hopes to see his wife and five children during the Hari Raya celebration, according to Suhakam (Malaysia's Human Rights Commission) vice-chairman Simon Sipaun.|
Tan Sri Sipaun told The Straits Times that Mas Selamat, who is currently detained under the Internal Security Act, did not have any complaints about the detention centre in Kamunting, Perak, when he visited him on Friday.
'He said he did not get tortured or beaten in the detention centre,' he said, in a telephone interview on Sunday 'He only wanted his family to visit him, but so far, they have not visited him yet.'
Mr Sipaun said Mas Selamat also claimed he had been drugged while he was in detention in Singapore. He said he did not feel normal most of the time and was always dizzy.
According to Mr Sipaun, he met Mas Selamat for half an hour as part of Suhakam's routine checks on the detention centre.
Suhakam is a human rights commission headed by government-appointed commissioners. Tan Sri Sipaun was once the Sabah Public Service Commission chairman. Suhakam carries out regular checks on detention centres and prisons throughout the country, to ensure there is no violation of human rights.
Home Ministry secretary-general Mahmood Adam confirmed yesterday that his ministry would allow Mas Selamat's wife to visit him in Kamunting. 'We have no problem. As long as she has the proper travel documents, she can visit him anytime,' he said.
|2009-09-21 Southeast Asia|
The discovery could explain why Abu Sayyaf has remained so elusive on the relatively small island of Jolo, about 590 miles south of Manila, despite years of U.S. military assistance and training in the area.
Philippine soldiers were tracking suspected Abu Sayyaf members when they stumbled on the complex, military officials said. The complex could accommodate as many as 500 people, and the various bunkers were connected by a network of trenches cut into the steep mountainside, said Ben Dolorfino, a lieutenant general in the Philippine army. During Sunday's six-hour battle, the military called in air strikes, he said.
Abu Sayyaf guerrillas Monday ambushed and killed eight Philippine soldiers who were returning to base after securing the rebels' lair, authorities said.
Philippine military officials are now preparing to examine the Jolo bunker complex for further clues to how the seemingly loose-knit Abu Sayyaf and its top leaders operate.
Formed in the late 1980s with financing provided by
The group later attempted to attract the attention of al Qaeda-linked financiers by teaming up with militants in neighboring Malaysian and Indonesia, including members of the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah group, which orchestrated the Bali bombings. Philippine intelligence officials say Abu Sayyaf is still harboring two important Indonesian terrorist suspects, Umar Patek and Dulmatin, who are wanted for their alleged role in the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed over 200 people.
The Abu Sayyaf rebels themselves have planned major terrorist attacks across the Philippines, including the firebombing of a crowded ferry in Manila Bay in 2004 that killed 116 people.
|2009-09-18 Southeast Asia|
|JOHOR BAHARU, Sept 18 (Bernama) -- The body of Asia's number one terrorist, Noordin Mohammad Top, is only expected to be brought back to Malaysia next week for burial in his family's village in Pontian. According to a source, Indonesia needed between four to five days more to examine Noordin's body before handing it over to Malaysia and his family.|
Taking the time to make sure he's really, really dead.
"Two of Noordin's family members, probably his elder brother known as 'Yahya' and his younger brother known as 'Isa' will go to Jakarta next week with Malaysian police officers to identify and claim the body. "Noordin's wife who lives in Kampung Sungai Tiram, Johor Baharu will not go to Jakarta to claim the body," the source told Bernama in an interview Friday.
No doubt deep in mourning, or shopping for a new husband
Isn't that generally taken care of by her brother?
Observation by Bernama of Noordin's family house today in Kampung Kayu Ara Pasong, Pontian found that it was uninhabited.
Noordin, 41, who headed a more radical splinter group of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) was killed yesterday after his hideout in Solo, Central Java was raided by Indonesia's elite anti-terrorist unit Densus 88. Noordin's death ended a six-year hunt for the person believed to be responsible for a series bomb attacks that killed tens of people in the republic. Asia's number one terrorist was alleged to be responsible for the bomb attacks on the Ritz Charlton Hotel and the J.W Marriot Hotel in Jakarta on July 17 which killed nine people including the two suicide bombers.
According to the source there was no need for Noordin's family members and police officers to go to Jakarta now as the process of examining his body was not completed.
Driving a stake through his heart takes time.
However, the source said, the process of identifying Noordin by DNA that takes about 30 hours would be completed tonight or tomorrow and the result announced.
Another site which won't open for me seems to indicate the DNA test is positive
The Indonesian authorities have already identified the body as Noordin's based on fingerprints and other physical marks.
Meanwhile the source also denied local media reports that the death of the most wanted terrorist was due to his blowing himself up to avoid being taken alive.
"Noordin died due to being shot on several parts of his body including the feet, hands and head. He had a serious wound on the back of his head