Indonesia police detain two terror suspects, ISIL supporters

Indonesia police detain two terror suspects, ISIL supporters
An image grab taken from a propaganda video uploaded on June 8, 2014, by the jihadist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) allegedly shows ISIL militants near the central Iraqi city of Tikrit.

JAKARTA - The National Police's Densus 88 counterterrorism squad arrested two accomplices of suspected terrorist leader Santoso in Ngawi, East Java, on Friday and confiscated arms and a flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS.

National Police chief Gen. Sutarman said on Friday that the suspects, identified only as G and K, were apprehended in two separate locations in Widodaren subdistrict in Ngawi regency.

"They financed Santoso's cell and supplied him with logistics. They also took part in a robbery led by Hilman in Bali in 2012," he said at National Police headquarters in Jakarta.

Sutarman was referring to one of Santoso's accomplices who was shot dead in a police raid in Denpasar in March 2012 while allegedly planning a terror attack.

The police have accused Santoso, alias Abu Wardah, the leader of East Indonesia Mujahidin, of being responsible for a spate of terrorist attacks in conflict-torn Poso in Central Sulawesi.

Many of his followers are suspected of having committed robberies, particularly in Java, Bali and Medan, to finance the group's activities.

Sutarman said that during the arrest of K Densus 88 seized a Beretta handgun, two magazines, 21 rounds of ammunition and the ISIL flag.

"They have proclaimed their support for ISIS," the police chief said.

The National Police have anticipated the possibility of many Indonesian extremists pledging their allegiance to ISIL after some noted terrorist figures - like Santoso, and convicted terrorist and radical preacher Abu Bakar Ba'asyir - declared their support for the extreme Islamist group that has occupied some parts of Iraq and Syria.

"Indonesia is vulnerable to ISIS given that in the country we have many radical groups that can easily be influenced. Therefore we must take preventive measures, step up our vigilance and enforce the law against criminals with links to ISIS," Sutarman said.

Aside from G and K, another Santoso follower who has joined ISIL is believed to be Bahrumsyah, alias Abu Muhammad al-Indonesi, a Syarief Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) drop out who has become an ISIL recruiter.

The police estimate that there are 56 Indonesians, including Bahrumsyah, who have joined ISIL in Iraq and Syria in a hope of establishing an Islamic state or caliphate.

Sutarman said the police, along with relevant ministries and institutions, were discussing measures to be taken against the 56 ISIL combatants should they return to the country. "There has been discussions about charging them under the [2006] Citizenship Law in order to revoke their citizenship," Sutarman said.

He said that the government had yet to decide which sanctions to take against the ISIL combatants.

Also on Friday, Nahdlatul Ulama, the country's largest Muslim organisation, declared its opposition to ISIL. "I guarantee none of NU's santri [students] will be lured into joining or being involved with that movement," NU chairman Said Aqil Siradj said in Jakarta.

Earlier on Thursday, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issued a call warning Muslims not to join the group.

MUI chairman Din Syamsuddin said that ISIL was a violent and radical movement that tarnished the image of Islam as a peaceful religion.

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