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Indonesian police round up terrorist suspects in Sumatra

Four alleged terrorists thought to be members of two new groups linked to Jemaah Islamiyah

Indonesian police round up terrorist suspects in Sumatra

Two anti-terrorism police guard a government building in Jakarta following a terrorist threat in this 2019 file photo. Police have announced the arrest of four terrorist suspects in Sumatra. (Photo: Konradus Epa/UCA News)

Indonesian police have arrested four suspected terrorists in Sumatra, one of whom is thought to have been a regular financial contributor to global jihadist groups.

Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Awi Setyono said the suspects were arrested by an anti-terror squad in Lampung, South Sumatra, on Nov. 6 and 7.

Laptops, mobile phones, an air rifle and several books on jihad were also seized.

Setyono said the suspects were from two new groups — Isthisod Adira in Lampung province and Imarrudin in Banten province — that have links with Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a notorious Southeast Asian terrorist group that was responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings.

According to Setyono, the financial contributor — identified only as I — was arrested on Nov. 7. He joined Jemaah Islamiyah in 2003 and then Isthisod Adira in 2014. He had regularly sent money to fund global jihadist groups since 2015, he said.

The arrest of the four suspects follows the arrest of two other suspected terrorists a week earlier in West Sumatra and Batam, an Indonesian city near Singapore.

"All the arrests were to prevent any terrorist strikes," Setyono said without elaborating.

Stanislaus Riyanta, an intelligence analyst from the University of Indonesia, said those arrested were all linked to Para Wijayanto, the head of Jemaah Islamiyah in Indonesia who was arrested in 2019.

“They have been taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen government and police forces focusing on handling the virus, to regather strength,” he told UCA News, referring to a number of anti-terrorism arrests prior to the outbreak.

“It suggests JI has resurrected itself,” he said, adding that they likely planned to attack several cities in Java, targeting police officers, US-related facilities and Western symbols.
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JI is being steadfast in its goal to set up a caliphate in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, he said.

Riyanta said JI has also been focused on preaching, education and recruitment of new members.

According to Bruce Hoffman, a global terrorism expert, the estimated number of JI members in Indonesia stands at about 3,000. Most were trained in Afghanistan and the Philippines.

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