Monday, 12 December 2016

Indonesia and ISIS: 2016 Year in Review

Jakarta Attacks - Jan 2016

Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN)A militant who police accuse of plotting Thursday's deadly terror attack in Jakarta instructed his cells in Indonesia to launch the attack, according to Jakarta Police Chief Tito Karnavian.
Karnavian spoke to CNN one day after the violence erupted midday, killing at least two, wounding 24 and raising alarm about terrorism in the world's most populous Muslim country.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in an official statement posted online by the terror organization.
"We have been informed by our intelligence that an individual named Bahrun Naim, based on the communications ... instructed his cells in Indonesia to mount an attack in Indonesia," Karnavian said.
Naim, who police believe is living in Syria, was apprehended by Indonesian authorities in 2010 for illegal possession of ammunition and was brought to justice, the police chief said. Naim was sentenced to at least 2½ years in prison.
The militant then left Indonesia, and is in Raqqa, "as part of the high ranks of ISIS," Karnavian said.
"He created cells or a branch of ISIS named Katibah al Nusantara. His vision is to join, to unite all ISIS supporting elements in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines," the chief said.
Police spokesman Anton Charliyan had said earlier that Naim is in Syria but sent money back home to Indonesia to finance the attack.

Promoting extremism

A blog containing ISIS teachings likely belongs to Naim, according to an Indonesian anti-terror source.
The blog contains posts written in the Bahasa Indonesia language on how to conduct terror attacks, lessons learned from the Paris attacks, how to avoid intelligence surveillance, how to make homemade pistols and how to conduct guerrilla warfare in cities, among others.
Authorities in Indonesia have been monitoring the blog for two years, the anti-terror source said. He added it's "highly possible" the blog is run by Naim himself or by people posting on his behalf.
Karnavian said the difference between ISIS and terror groups formerly active in Indonesia, such as Jemaah Islamiyah and al Qaeda, is that the former is more dangerous because its ideology allows it to kill Muslims in a way that previous groups did not.

Eerie quiet

As the sun broke the day after the attack, corrugated iron covered the shattered windows of the Starbucks that had been the scene of so much destruction. Wreaths and tributes, expressing condolences to the victims and defiance against those who attacked, were stacked against the nearby police outpost.
Many bear the slogan #KamiTidakTakut, which translates to "We are not afraid," to express pride and conviction to stand up, rather than bow down, to terrorism.
The small number of people laying tributes outside the coffee shop and police outpost told CNN they had rarely seen the bustling, 24-hour street so quiet.
Boni Marlen, a 22-year-old studying law, rode up to the scene on a mountain bike late Thursday night and shook his head.

"I want to be near the people who died to pray for them," he said, repeating the slogan, "we're not afraid." He said the extremists counted as only a small group. "We must fight them."
Many went on Facebook and Twitter to express their pride and conviction to stand up, rather than bow down, to terrorism.
"We are Indonesians & we never affraid to (sic) terrorist," one man wrote. "We always fight anything that wanna take us down."
This sentiment was echoed by President Joko Widodo.
"We should not be afraid and defeated by acts of terror like this," he said.
It began around 10:55 a.m. Thursday (10:55 p.m. ET Wednesday) with a suicide explosion near a Starbucks on Thamrin Street, an entertainment and shopping district with various Western chain restaurants and stores.

Malaysia warns of bid to make SE-Asia new base for ISIS

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia has warned that an Indonesia-based militant's followers are looking to make South-East Asia the new base for Islamic State terror group, days after six Indonesian militants were arrested for plotting a missile attack at Singapore's Marina Bay.

Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said according to intelligence reports some of Indonesia-based Abu Bakar Bashir's 300 followers, who were in jail, have been released and they reportedly went to Batam, a small island in Indonesia's Riau Archipelago in the South China Sea.

"A short boat ride from Singapore, it's a free trade zone with multiple busy ports, known for its beaches and resorts.
From there, they want to make South-East Asia the new port for IS," he told reporters yesterday.

Abu Bakar, known as the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, behind the 2002 Bali bombings, was sentenced to 15 years jail in 2011.
Ahmad Zahid said Malaysians should be mindful as extremism had reached a stage where it was no longer "what if" but "when will it happen?"
Seeking cooperation from everyone to fight the rising threat in the South-East Asian region, he said that Malaysian authorities were discussing with their counterparts on ways to enhance security in the region.

Six Indonesian militants, including an ISIS fighter, were arrested on Friday for plotting a missile attack at Singapore's Marina Bay.

Even before Friday's foiled rocket attack on Singapore's Marina Bay, Ahmad Zahid said the Defence and Home ministries had placed assets and manpower at areas dubbed "black spots" for security purposes.

Indonesian police kill man wielding machetes with ISIS symbol

Jakarta: Indonesian police shot dead a man carrying knives, suspected pipe bombs and a symbol of the Islamic State group after he launched a daylight assault on officers near Jakarta on Thursday, an official said.

The man was shot three times as he stabbed wildly at officers on a busy intersection in Tangerang, a satellite city outside the capital, Jakarta police spokesman Awi Setiyono said.

Setiyono said the perpetrator threw two suspected pipe bombs at the officers, but neither detonated, and displayed an IS symbol on a nearby traffic pole during the frenzied attack.
"A man suddenly stuck an IS logo sticker on a traffic police post, took a machete from his bag and blindly attacked our personnel," he said.

The attacker believed to be a member of a local hardline group - was also carrying a turban, along with knives and the suspected bombs, Setiyono added.
The 21-year-old attacker later died from his wounds, the spokesman said. He said police investigating the case had discovered that two of the attacker's brothers were police officers in Tangerang. Three officers were injured and taken to hospital.

Police and military personnel have also been killed in clashes with extremists in a remote part of Sulawesi, where for years a ragtag militant group has been waging a conflict against security forces from their jungle hideout.

Indonesia suffered significant attacks in the 2000s including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people, mostly foreign tourists.

A sustained crackdown weakened the most dangerous networks but IS has proved a potent new rallying cry for Indonesia's radicals, stoking fears that militants fighting with the group could seek to organise attacks back home.

Indonesian jailed over ISIS-linked terror plots

Jakarta: An Indonesian militant was jailed for six years on Monday over a series of failed plots hatched under the guidance of an Indonesian jihadist fighting for the Islamic State group in Syria.

Arif Hidayatullah plotted to assassinate Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese Christian, and bomb a Jewish community centre and a mosque used by members of the Muslim Shia minority, a court heard.

The 31-year-old, who was detained last December on the outskirts of Jakarta, did not carry out any of his plans because he was not confident his homemade bombs were ready.
The Jakarta court heard he concocted the plots under the wing of Bahrun Naim, a leading Indonesian militant fighting with ISIS, who has been linked to several botched assaults in his homeland, from a plot to fire a rocket at Singapore to a suicide attack on a police station.

There has been an upsurge of violence and attempted attacks in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country over the past year due to the growing influence of ISIS.
Hidayatullah was found guilty of possessing explosive materials intended for use in terror attacks.

"The defendant is declared to be convincingly guilty of terrorism offences and is sentenced to six years in prison," Judge Siti Jamzanah told the court.
He also helped five Indonesians travel to Syria and helped a Uighur radical enter Indonesia, the court heard. The Uighur was later arrested outside Jakarta as he prepared to carry out a suicide bombing.

No place in Indonesia for ISIS: Joko Widodo

Bogor: Islamic State (ISIS) has no place in Indonesia, President Joko Widodo has said, amid growing concern that south-east Asia was becoming a fertile ground for the group.
“Indonesia opposes all forms of extremism and violence,” Mr Widodo said, ahead of his state visit to India, beginning on Monday.

“The ISIS has no place in Indonesia,” he said, adding that his country was taking a comprehensive approach in fighting extremism through hard power by law enforcement and legislation; as well as soft power by taking a religious and cultural approach.

“Indonesia will always cooperate with all countries to fight terrorism,”  he said, adding that such cooperation would be through the exchange of information as well as intelligence exchanges and cooperation.

Authorities: IS Fighter in Syria Plots Terror in Indonesia

Updated: December 16, 2016 12:59 PM

One of Indonesia's most wanted men is a computer geek skilled at bomb-making who joined the Islamic State in Syria, where police say he now directs terror attacks against his native land.

Indonesian authorities say they have linked Bahrun Naim to a string of terror attacks and plots to destabilize his homeland. He reportedly directs IS operations in Indonesia through the Telegram app favored by IS in Raqqa, which is the militant group's de facto capital in Syria, the officials said.

On Friday, Indonesia’s anti-terror police said they arrested 11 suspected terrorists linked to Naim’s network. Police said the group had planned to attack the presidential palace in Jakarta.

Naim, 33, was the alleged ringleader of a terror plot in Jakarta that was foiled over the weekend. Authorities said a female would-be suicide bomber and a suspected IS loyalist were arrested while planning to attack high-profile targets in the nation's capital.

"They learned how to assemble a bomb from Bahrun Naim," police commissioner Awi Setiyono told reporters.

Using social media channels and contacts in Indonesia, Naim has been actively recruiting people from Syria for terror activities and funds terror plots in the country, Indonesian police said.

Coordinating activities

Authorities said they thought Naim was the leading coordinator for IS activities in Indonesia.

"Bahrun Naim continuously tries to appeal to people in Indonesia, as well as in countries like Malaysia and Singapore, to carry out terror activities for IS," Sidney Jones, director of Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, a Jakarta-based research group, told VOA's Indonesian service.
Naim has been tied to a number of attacks and failed terror plots in Indonesia this year, including a July suicide bombing in the Javanese city of Solo, police said.

He was identified as the mastermind of coordinated bomb and gun attacks in central Jakarta in January that killed eight people, including the four attackers. IS claimed responsibility for the incidents.
Naim was also linked to a suspected militant arrested during a raid last month. Police said that during the raid, they found enough chemicals to build a bomb twice as powerful as the one used in the Bali bombing in 2002, which killed 202 people, according to Reuters.
"On the orders of Bahrun Naim, they formed small cells and assembled bombs with other suspected militants," police commissioner Setiyono told reporters.
Naim is known to be an expert in explosives, analyst Jones said.
"He has written some sort of a guidebook containing instructions on how to make bombs," she added.

Radical groups

According to media accounts, Naim was born in Central Java's Pekalongan city in 1983. He grew up in Solo, a city where radical groups have had a longtime presence, and graduated with a degree in computer technology in 2005.
Naim was arrested on suspicion of involvement in a terrorism network in November 2010, and he was convicted in June 2011 of illegal possession of ammunition. The court, however, found insufficient evidence to pursue the terror charges, Indonesian authorities said.

He fled the country in early 2015. Authorities tracked him to Syria, where they say he has continued strengthening his terrorist network in Indonesia.

Naim has used Telegram message channels to communicate with his network in Indonesia and has taught followers how to assemble explosives, Setiyono said.

"Bahrun communicates also through Twitter and sends messages to people, not only in Indonesia but also in several other countries," Wawan Purwanto, an intelligence analyst at Indonesia's anti-terror agency, told VOA.

"He [Naim] has a huge influence over his network. He brings new inspiration to his followers through social media," Purwanto said. "In fact, people are influenced by what he posts on social media."

Blog on terrorist attacks

According to the BBC, Naim reportedly maintained a blog, portraying himself as a "freelance journalist." He has published posts on how to carry out terrorist attacks, make bombs and dodge surveillance.

The blog also praised several attacks carried out by IS and its affiliates, the BBC reported. Attempts by VOA to access the blog found that it had been blocked.
Islamic State remains a threat to Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country, authorities said. As many as 384 Indonesians have joined IS, according to Indonesia's counterterrorism agency. Most of those have traveled to Syria and Iraq.
Indonesian authorities last month said they were investigating the reported death in Iraq of a prominent IS commander from Indonesia, who was defending the militant stronghold of Mosul during a U.S.-backed military effort to dislodge the group.

Arrested Indonesian woman says IS militant ordered bombing

Jakarta: A female would-be suicide bomber arrested last week one day before her planned attack in Indonesia's capital said she took orders from Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian with the Islamic State group in Syria accused of orchestrating several attacks in the past year.

Dian Yulia Novi and her husband Nur Solihin were among four suspected militants arrested Saturday after police detected their plot to bomb a guard-changing ceremony at the presidential palace. A neighborhood on the outskirts of Jakarta was evacuated after a bomb was found.

Police suspect the four were part of a militant network responsible for a bomb-making lab in West Java province that was operating under the direction of Naim.
Novi, a former migrant worker in Singapore and Taiwan, said in a TVOne interview broadcast Wednesday that she learned about jihad on social media such as Facebook. She said she was influenced by articles from an Islamic website on upholding monotheism and defending the caliphate and Aman Abdurrahman, a radical cleric serving a nine-year prison sentence in Indonesia.

The active involvement of a woman in the plot is a new development for violent radicalism in socially conservative Indonesia, where women married to or associated with militants have typically stayed in the background.

The 3-kilogram bomb that Novi was to detonate would have exploded as crowds of people gathered to watch the presidential guard changing ceremony, a popular family attraction in Jakarta. In the interview, she revealed a chilling disregard for her fellow Indonesians.

"The target is not ordinary people, not hawkers, not babies. The target is the enforcers of man-made laws," Novi said.

Naim "himself has explained that there are spectators," she said. "I would mingle with them then I would run toward the presidential guard and explode myself. That will be far from the spectators so they would not be hit directly."

Naim has been linked by police to several attacks in Indonesia this year including a January attack in Jakarta that killed eight people including the attackers.
Muslim-majority Indonesia has carried out a sustained crackdown on militants since the 2002 bombings on the tourist island of Bali by al-Qaida-affiliated radicals that killed 202 people. But a new threat has emerged in the past several years from IS sympathizers. Several hundred Indonesians have traveled to Syria to join IS.

Novi said she communicated with Naim on three occasions through the encrypted chat app Telegram and said it was he who decided the target of the attack.
Her husband, Solihin, also interviewed by the TV station, said he married Novi to facilitate her desire to be a suicide bomber.

Solihin said he was ordered by Naim to drop his wife at Jakarta's Istiqlal Mosque, where she would walk for about 500 meters (yards) to the target.

"I did not know what the target was. Only after police revealed the bomb plot, then I realized that the target was the presidential palace," he said.

Three ‘suicide bombers’ shot dead by cops ‘before Christmas terror attack’

Raids were carried out today to halt a potential bomb plot directed by homegrown militants in the holiday hot spot of Indonesia. Officers opened fire on suspects as explosives were hurled at them in the neighbourhood of South Tangerang. Around five bombs including one very large explosive device were discovered in the building, police report.

"The intention was for a suicide bomb," a national police spokesman told a conference.
"During the raid, we tried to be careful but they threw something from inside the house and it was a bomb but it did not explode. Then they fired from inside."
He added: "Inside the house we found a bigger bomb and now we are investigating it to try to detonate it."

It is thought that the foiled bombers had planned to stab officers at a traffic post and then detonate a large bomb in a crowded area. Authorities said the suspects were linked to ISIS operatives who were planning an end of year suicide attack on the presidential palace in the capital city.

ISIS presence in Aceh worries India

Wednesday, 21 December 2016 

With ISIS marking its strong presence in Aceh (Indonesia) just 80 nautical miles off Andaman, India has approached the Indonesian Government for providing real-time, “action-oriented” sensitive information to New Delhi to prevent terror attacks
and radicalisation activities in the country.

India is also pursuing Indonesia to sign the Rs White Shipping’ agreement to improve data sharing and providing advance information on the identity of commercial vessels that move around in the area. The real-time information sharing about ships that leave a foreign shore will help Indian Navy and Coast Guard monitor the movement of the vessels in international waters. This is to prevent a 26/11 Mumbai attack-like situation, human trafficking and piracy, sources said. India has similar arrangements with more than 50 countries, including the United States of America.

Of late, ISIS activities have seen a sharp increase in the South East Asia region. Aceh in Indonesia and Mindanao in Philippines are the hotbed of ISIS activities besides having training camps for several other extremist groups as well. Mindanao borders Indonesian islands Kalimantan and Sulawesi.

With ISIS activities just 80 nautical miles from the Andaman Islands and free movement of people in the ASEAN region, India is worried that the terror outfit may use it to expand its network in the country. A top official in the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta conceded that with closely integrated movement of people in the ASEAN region, there is a strong possibility of terrorism spreading to the countries like India.

“The region is concerned about the foreign fighters returning from Syria and spread of radicalisation is a cause of worry too. It is a rapidly growing problem that is why we are strengthening cooperation so that we can handle it from the beginning. We are co-operating with ASEAN countries on three levels - East Asia, India-ASEAN and at the ASEAN forum. In East Asia framework, we are doing a lot of work on sharing of information. At India-ASEAN there are annual meetings to strengthen co-operation on drug and human trafficking along with terrorism,” Suresh K Reddy, Ambassador at Indian Mission at ASEAN in Jakarta, told The Pioneer.

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