The Two Leader’s arrest to weaken Jemaah Islamiah’s terror grip
Posted April 17, 2008on:
Two alleged Indonesian top members of the regional terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah were arrested by at a Malaysian airport on January 31, 2008 during a search for illegal immigrants. According to National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Anton Bachrul Alam, they said themselves that they were heading to Syria to meet with a larger terrorist network, but we are not sure what group they are referring to. The suspects are Abdul Rohim (AR) bin Thayib@Abu Husna, 49, who cames from Sukoharjo, Central Java and Agus Purwanto (AP)@Agus Indrus@Agus Purwantoro, 39, holding fake passports under the names of Oktariadi Anis and Deddy Achmadi Machdan. During the 1990s JI established terror cells across the region, but it has been targeted by police since organising the 2002 Bali bombings, though extremist members have continued to carry out terrorist attacks, including the bombing of Australia’s Jakarta embassy and the second attacks on Bali in 2005.
AR is thought to have replaced Zarkasih as Jemaah Islamiyah leader (emir), after Zarkasih’s arrest last year. Meanwhile, AP is wanted in connection with violence in Poso, on Indonesia’s eastern Sulawesi island, where sporadic violence between Muslims and Christians continues to break out periodically. AP is reportedly the leader of JI in Poso, Central Sulawesi, which has in the past been the scene of deadly violence. AP, who graduated from Airlangga University’s School of Medicine, in Surabaya, East Java, is also believed to have served as a doctor for fugitive terrorist Noordin M. Top. As we know, Noordin is one of the chief JI members in Indonesia and is allegedly responsible for a string of bombings in the country. He has escaped arrest on several occasions. Moreover, AP is also known to have been a student of the late terrorist Azahari bin Husin, who was killed by the police’s anti-terror squad during a raid in Malang, East Java, on 9 November 2005. Brig. Gen. Anton Bachrul Alam said Agus was directly involved in some of the worst violence in Central Sulawesi, including the mutilation of three female high school students that occurred near Poso on Nov 29, 2005, bombings at Tentena and a robbery at a shop selling gold in which the owner of the store was shot and killed. Around three kilograms of gold were stolen in Poso on February 2006. On 28 May 2005, bombs exploded at a market in Tentena, a coastal town near Poso, killing 22 people.
Until now, Malaysian security apparatus could only prove that two people only carried out contact with perpetrators of passport falsification. The contact possibilities between other networks or groups and two suspects in Malaysia are being developed. AR and AP were extradited to Indonesia on 28 March and taken into custody by police upon arrival at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. AR and AP are being held at the detention center of the police’s elite Mobile Brigade in Kelapa Dua, Depok, about 25 kilometers south of Jakarta. Indonesian police are working hard to develop further information concerning some contacts carried out during their stay in Jakarta. The arrests could likely embolden radicals within JI aligned to Top, giving them a sense that there was now nothing to lose.