Terror Threats from Jemaah Islamiyah Remain Potent: Police
Jakarta. The National Police said Monday they will continue to hunt the remaining members of Jemaah Islamiyah although top figures of the shadowy terror group blamed for many major attacks in the 2000s were already captured or killed.
The statement came nearly two weeks after five suspected militants linked to JI were arrested during raids in the province of Central Sulawesi but police have yet to disclose information about any immediate threat from the group.
JI is responsible for the October 2002 twin bombings in Bali that killed over 200 people in a devastating attack that became the starting point to a series of deadly blasts in Jakarta and several other cities targeting government facilities and foreign assets including embassy and hotel buildings.
In the past decade, however, JI has been largely unheard with its living figures voluntarily joining the government’s deradicalization program.
But National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo warned that counterterrorism squad Detachment 88 possesses the database of active JI sympathizers.
“JI continues to pose latent threats to the national security,” Dedi said during a visit to B-Universe Media Holdings in Jakarta.
“Anti-terror operations are the responsibility of Detachment 88 which has a database about JI's current members.”
Public communication officer Brig. Gen. Ahmad Ramadhan described the current state of JI as “sleeping terror cells” which often operate under affiliate groups to disguise activities in collecting funding and acquiring weapons.
During the recent arrests in Central Sulawesi, the anti-terror squad seized documents, knives, telescopes, and a pellet gun from the suspects.
“Never forget that JI has been classified as a terrorist organization which now appears as sleeping terror cells,” Ahmad said.
Police also accused JI of deploying charity boxes at minimarkets in several regions throughout Indonesia to trick unsuspecting shoppers into giving money that would fund the group's terror activities.
The group used the funds to fly terrorists to Syria for military training and buy weapons and explosives to be used in future terror attacks, according to police.
Some affiliate groups also went as far as establishing foundations or orphanages to mask their illicit fundraising.
But last August, ex-terror convict Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, known as the spiritual leader of JI, did the unthinkable as he participated in the Independence Day ceremony at his boarding school in the Central Java district of Sukoharho.
It was also the first ever August 17 ceremony to be held by the Al Mukmin Islamic Boarding School since Ba’asyir founded it in 1972.
The elderly cleric has long been known for his stance to reject state symbols and secular ideology which according to him are an affront to the Koran.
Two convicted Bali bombers Ali Imron and Umar Patek actively participated in the deradicalization program and even helped security officials root out other militants.
The absence of JI attacks in the last decade paved the way for the emergence of homegrown militant groups like Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) and the Eastern Indonesia Mujaheedin which have launched a series of attacks in the past few years.
A JAD member with a knife attacked and injured then-chief security minister Wiranto during a daylight attack in Pandeglang Regency in October 2019.Tags: