05/07/2010, 00.00
INDONESIA

Terrorist group linked to Abu Bakar Baasyir

by Mathias Hariyadi
Arrested 12 people suspected of links with groups that train in guerrilla warfare in Aceh and the Philippines. The founder of the group is the imam of Central Java. Baasyir denies any wrongdoing: "It's Washington’s fault."

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A raid by police against a terrorist group could lead to more damning evidence against Abu Bakar Baasyir, as a leader or supporter of Islamic extremist terrorism.

For a long time the Indonesian security forces have had strong suspicions that Abu Bakar Baasyir had ties with Jemaah Islamiyah, but the link has always been strongly denied.

Last night anti-terror teams entered a house in Pasar in Minggu Pejaten (South Jakarta) and arrested 12 members of Jamaah Anshoru Tauhid (Jat). This is a radical Islamic group founded by Abu Bakar Baasyir, who is still it’s leader.

Baasyir, an Indonesian national, fled to Malaysia during the rule of Suharto. Back in the country, he is president of an Islamic college (pesantren) in Ngruki of Sukoharjo, near Surakarta (Solo) (Central Java).

The Jat is an separatist organisation of the Indonesian Mujahedeen Council (MMI), both established by Baasyir. But he then decided to leave the Mmi because they no longer seek the imposition of Sharia law throughout Indonesia.

The 12 arrested yesterday are suspected of supporting terrorist activities, particularly recruitment, financing and training of personnel for paramilitary actions in Aceh.

The raid last night was to arrest Mustafa aka Abu Tholut, a regional commander of the JI, he has trained experts in the field from Hudaibiyah in Mindanao (Southern Philippines).

Police believe Mustafa is the link in relations between Abu Bakar Baasyir and terrorist groups in Aceh.

Pejanten neighbours have confirmed that Baasyir was often seen at meetings in the house of the suspects.

Abu Bakar Baasyir has strongly denied his links with terrorist groups in Indonesia and condemned the police raid against "his boys" arrested without a warrant.

According to the imam, "Washington ordered his loyal subordinates in Indonesia captured and taken to jail, so they would die behind bars." He however admitted that Jamaah Anshoru Tauhid was founded as a paramilitary organization. "But my group - he said – is not a terrorist group."  

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