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Indonesia’s counter-terrorism force arrests man for sending citizens to Syria to join the IS group

Indonesia’s counterterrorism force Densus 88 has arrested a man suspected of sending Indonesian citizens to Syria to join the Islamic State (IS) group

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IS Recruits
Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Wikimedia
  • Indonesia’s counter-terrorism force Densus 88 has arrested a man suspected of sending Indonesian citizens to Syria to join the Islamic State (IS) group
  • Fauzan was captured thanks to a failed attempt to send seven other Indonesians to Syria via Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Sept. 22, Boy explained
  • According to the Coordinating Ministry of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, some 800 Indonesian citizens had joined IS by the end of 2015
  • Al Chaidar, a terrorism expert from Malikussaleh University in Lhokseumawe, Aceh, thinks that economic inequality is a reason for driving people toward IS

Oct 03, 2016: Indonesia’s counter-terrorism force Densus 88 has arrested a man suspected of sending Indonesian citizens to Syria to join the Islamic State (IS) group.

“He was arrested at 8 o’clock this morning in Bekasi, West Java,” National Police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar told journalists in Jakarta on Wednesday. He gave the initials of the suspect, A.R., and an alias, Abu Fauzan.

Fauzan four times sent Indonesian nationals to join IS in Syria, Boy said. Three of the departures took place from October-November 2015. The fourth was in January 2016.

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“His expertise is in preparing, motivating and provisioning people who want to go, and teaching them techniques for lying if they are caught,” Boy said.

Fauzan was captured thanks to a failed attempt to send seven other Indonesians to Syria via Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Sept. 22, Boy explained.

Three of the seven were arrested and have been named as suspects while the other four are being classified as witnesses. Fauzi’s role was uncovered during interrogation of the three suspects.

“They said they were getting orders from Abu Fauzan,” Boy said.

Fauzan and the three other suspects were charged under Law No. 15, 2003 on Combatting Criminal Acts of Terrorism. Convictions under the law carry sentences of up to 15 years.

Linked to Bahrun Naim?

Police said they were still investigating whether Fauzan was working for Bahrun Naim or for Bahrumsyah, two Indonesian IS figures based in Syria who are jockeying for influence within the group, analysts believe.

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Al Chaidar, a terrorism expert from Malikussaleh University in Lhokseumawe, Aceh, said Fauzan was likely a follower of Bahrun Naim, who is suspected of having masterminded an attack in Jakarta in Jan. 2016 that left eight people dead.

Damaged Police Box caused by suicide bomb attack in front of Sarinah Building, Jalan MH Thamrin. Location of Sarinah-Starbucks terrorist attack in Central Jakarta, 14 January 2016.
Damaged Police Box caused by suicide bomb attack in front of Sarinah Building, Jalan MH Thamrin. Location of Sarinah-Starbucks terrorist attack in Central Jakarta, 14 January 2016. Wikimedia

“They’ve known each other for a long time. From when there were both in Poso,” Chaidar told BenarNews, referring to a regency in Central Sulawesi where the militant group Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) is based.

MIT’s numbers have dwindled to less than a dozen after its leader, Santoso, was killed in July following a months-long military operation there.

Prevention

According to the Coordinating Ministry of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, some 800 Indonesian citizens had joined IS by the end of 2015. The National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) puts the number at around 500.

The data discrepancy is not surprising, according to BNPT spokesman Irfan Idris. People who go to Syria do so via illegal routes, and their numbers are therefore hard to know exactly.

People are still joining IS in Syria due to its propaganda, circulated in books, websites and social media, he added.

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Indonesia law currently allows people to be arrested only after they carry out acts of terrorism. “So we are asking for a revision of Law No. 15, 2003, so that it can be used for prevention” Irfan said.

“If that happens, people suspected of spreading radical ideology can be sanctioned. The dissemination can be stopped.”

But in Chaidar’s view, economic inequality is also driving people toward IS.

Interest in joining the IS is not solely triggered by ideology, but also the lure of a salary, he said.

“Economic recovery is the key” to removing that motivation, he said.

(BenarNews)

Next Story

Indonesia Plans to Close Giant Lizard Island to The Public to Conserve Rare Reptiles

Syahputra works as a wildlife guide at Komodo National Park on the eastern Indonesian island of Komodo, taking visitors around the park

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Indonesia, Giant Lizard, Island
FILE - A Komodo dragon walks at the Komodo National Park in Komodo island, Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province. VOA

Almost every day 20-year-old Rizaldian Syahputra puts on his blue uniform, laces up his high boots and leaves his wooden house on stilts for a job many nature-lovers would envy. Giant Lizard

But by next year, he may no longer be employed.

Syahputra works as a wildlife guide at Komodo National Park on the eastern Indonesian island of Komodo, taking visitors around the park on foot to get up close to the leathery Komodo dragons, the world’s largest living lizard species.

The Indonesian government plans to close the island to the public from January next year in a bid to conserve the rare reptiles.

Indonesia, Giant Lizard, Island
Almost every day 20-year-old Rizaldian Syahputra puts on his blue uniform, laces up his high boots and leaves his wooden house on stilts. Pixabay

The scheme also involves moving about 2,000 villagers off the island. Authorities are holding talks with community leaders on how to relocate the residents, Josef Nae Soi, deputy governor of the province of East Nusa Tenggara, told Reuters recently.

It is hoped that closing the island to tourists will cut the risk of poaching and allow a recovery in the numbers of the animals’ preferred prey, such as deer, buffalo and wild boar.

The island could reopen after a year, but the plan is to make it a premium tourist destination, Soi said.

Syahputra, who says he enjoys his job because of his passion for nature and conservation, shares the fears of many others on the island who rely on tourism for a living.

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“The closure is definitely something that makes us unhappy,” he said.

“If we really have to do it, I hope we can find a middle ground on the solution, not closing the whole island but just a certain area.”

More than 176,000 tourists visited Komodo National Park, a conservation area between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores, in 2018. The whole area was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.

About 1,700 Komodo dragons are estimated to live on Komodo island. Other islands in the national park that are home to more than 1,400 of the giant lizards, such as nearby Rinca and Padar, will remain open to tourists.

 

Indonesia, Giant Lizard, Island
The scheme also involves moving about 2,000 villagers off the island. LifetimeStock

Villagers who have lived on Komodo island for generations are unsurprisingly opposed to the idea of having to leave.

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“We have been living as one for years with this village,” said resident Dahlia, who gave only one name. “The graves of my father and ancestors are here. If we move, who will take care of those graves?” (VOA)