Thursday, August 26, 2010

Indonesia court documents show links between jihadist networks

Militant suspects sits inside holding cell before the start of their trials at West Jakarta District Court in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010

(Reuters) - Islamic militants based in Indonesia's Aceh province worked with a fugitive suspected of planning the Bali bombings in an effort to unite various militant networks, court documents tabled on Thursday showed.

While Indonesia's anti-terror squad has killed or detained scores of militants since the bomb attacks on the resort island of Bali in 2002, police and other security experts have warned about the potential security threats to foreign and government targets in Indonesia from newly formed groups.

Prosecutors told a West Jakarta district court on Thursday that several men with links to various Muslim militant groups had operated a secret training camp in Aceh.

The camp was discovered by police earlier this year, and at least 50 people have been arrested and several others killed in police raids since then.

Earlier this month, police detained Indonesia's most famous radical cleric, Abu Bakar Bashir, who was formerly the spiritual leader of the Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI), for allegedly funding and advising the Aceh group.

Police have said Bashir was the leader of a group which calls itself al Qaeda of Indonesia and which is the umbrella for four militant Islamic groups including JI, Jema'ah Ansharut Tauhid, Kompak, and Indonesia Islamic State.

According to the court documents, Oman Rochman, a radical cleric linked to the Aceh group, had met Dulmatin, a senior militant figure on more than one occasion. The pair met last year and discussed setting up the Aceh base.

Dulmatin, who was a top bomb technician for JI, was killed in a police raid in March. He was previously believed to be hiding in the Philippines and the United States had put a $10 million bounty on his head.

Rochman, arrested in 2004 for arranging bomb-making classes, had been sentenced to seven years in prison but was released after only four years.

The court documents also detailed how Dulmatin provided recruits with training videos that featured Israeli soldiers demonstrating how to use various weapons. Other videos showed militants training in the Philippines and in Afghanistan under the direction of Osama bin Laden.

The group carried out attacks on targets they considered to be "enemies of Islam", including a German Red Cross worker who was shot dead in Aceh. The house where two American teachers were living, and the Aceh office of UNICEF were also attacked.

"According to the group, NGOs or foreign aid agencies were agents of Christianisation in Aceh," one document said, adding the group planned to destroy churches in the staunchly Islamic region and stem what they saw as the spread of liberal thought.

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