Police Revive Jemaah Islamiyah Fears After Central Sulawesi Arrests
A document released by the police’s elite counterterrorism force, Densus 88, alleges that two suspected would-be suicide bombers arrested early this month in Poso, Central Sulawesi, were members of the regional terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah.
One of the suspected militants, Qhoribul Mujib, is thought to have joined the terrorist network in 2004, recruited by alleged JI leader Abu Rusdan.
“In mid-2004, Mujib joined Jemaah Islamiyah at Mahad Mujahid [boarding school] in Kudus, Central Java, which was led by Abu Rusdan,” the document says.
Mujib was born in Jepara, Central Java, on Aug. 20, 1986, and was taught about jihad by Rusdan, the document says.
“Mujib was lectured to about the concept of jihad and was taught that judges, prosecutors, police officers and soldiers are infidels and enemies of Islam,” it adds.
Some analysts believe that JI has been in full retreat in recent years, many of its leaders and members killed or captured in police raids, but the Densus 88 document shows that the network remains a threat and is continuing to recruit members and train them to carry out attacks on targets in the country.
The document also confirms the International Crisis Group’s latest report, which suggested that groups that were scattered by counterterrorism efforts were using old networks to regroup.
According to some reports, Abu Rusdan became the caretaker leader of JI in 2002, after the arrest of the group’s alleged spiritual leader, radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.
Rusdan was arrested in April 2003 for hiding Ali Ghufron, one of the key suspects in the 2002 Bali bombings who was later executed for his role in the attacks. Rusdan was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for helping Ghufron but his alleged position as JI leader was never proven in court.
Mujib was arrested at a Poso market on July 12 along with another alleged would-be suicide bomber, Naim.
Naim, the Densus 88 document says, was born on March 23, 1985, and is a member of Jamaah Anshoru Tauhid, a group founded by Bashir and this February identified as a terrorist network by the US State Department.
The document also suggests that Naim is wanted for the fatal shooting of two police officers at a BCA bank in Palu, Central Sulawesi, last year. Naim participated in two military training camps at Mount Biru and in the Malino mountain range near Poso. Both camps are said to be run by Santoso, a wanted terror suspect.
The document also suggests that Densus 88 has no information on where the pair intended to strike. Both men were arrested at the main market in Poso.
Naim is from Gebangrejo in Poso, which was previously considered a Jemaah Islamiyah stronghold. Mujib was last living in Kilo village, also in Poso.