Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Abu Bakar Baasyr, a controversial religious figure who preaches Islamic extremism, was arrested by police this morning in Banja (West Java). Superintendent Marwoto Soete district police chief said that he has been accused of terrorism.
Baasyr was arrested after a leading a prayer meeting in Tasik Malaya. In recent months, several members of Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) - headed by Baasyr - were stopped by police and accused of connections with terrorist cells in Aceh, Jakarta and Tangerang south.
JAT was founded by Baasyr in 2008, after he separated from the Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI, Indonesian Mujahidin Council), which he considered too weak in its attempts to impose sharia in Indonesia.
The international community has long been scrutinising Baasyr’s actions for possible links with Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), of which he was the head when he was in exile in Malaysia. JI is responsible for many terrorist attacks including the bombs in Bali in 2002 and Jakarta in 2009.
Baasyr’s arrest comes two days after the police anti-terrorism squad Densus 88 arrested two other suspected terrorists in Bandung West Java. Chief Inspector of Police in West Java, Gen. Sutarman, confirmed that the two, Fahri Hamzah Tanjung and are linked to known Malaysian terrorists, Azahari and Noordin Moh Top, both recently killed. Police suspect the two arrested are the successors to the leadership of subversive cells.