Indonesia asks Interpol for help against Islamic State fundraisers
by Mathias Hariyadi

US authorities have raised the alarm over five Indonesians raising funds for terrorist activities. While two are already under arrest, the other three remain at large, possibly in Syria. Indonesia said it was ready to try them at home if they are caught.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesian police have issued an urgent appeal to Interpol to monitor three Indonesian nationals abroad involved in raising funds for the Islamic State (IS) group.

The request follows the decision by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), an agency of the US Department of Treasure, to impose sanctions on five Indonesian nationals, including a freeze on their assets. All five were allegedly recruited by the Islamic State.

Washington is currently hosting the 16th meeting of the Counter ISIS Finance Group (CIFG). The latter includes about 70 countries and various international organisations, and is tasked with stopping funds from reaching the Islamic State.

The three suspects Indonesia indicated to Interpol are believed to be in Syria. If arrested, Indonesia is ready to ask Syrian authorities to extradite them to their country of origin, said police spokesman Inspector General Dedi Prasetyo.

The other two Indonesian nationals have already been arrested and convicted on terrorism charges: one was arrested on his return from Syria, while the other was recruiting.

According to the police, the wanted trio is responsible for using donations to train new terrorists, mostly teenagers in refugee camps.

In recent months, Denus 88, Indonesia's counter-terrorism unit, has closely monitored the five Indonesians involved in these activities, the police spokesman said.

In 2015, Indonesian authorities froze more than US$ 205,000 in funds allegedly linked to terrorist organisations.

Indonesia’s Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK[*]) froze 26 bank accounts, but no details on the identity of the suspects have been provided.

PPATK director Muhammad Yusuf said that the Centre’s action complies with United Nations Security Council anti-terrorism resolution No. 1267.

[*] Pusat Pelaporan dan Analisis Transaksi Keuangan.