Indonesian police play down US terror list

Indonesian police play down US terror list

INDONESIA - The National Police said on Friday they would not arrest two Indonesian nationals who were recently added to the list of global terrorists by the US government for their links to what it considered Indonesian-based terrorist organisations.

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Ronny F. Sompie said that the police would not take any action unless Washington filed a formal request through the National Central Bureau (NCB)-Interpol Indonesia. "As far as I know, we haven't heard any official information about that from the US government. I don't know if the National Police Chief has heard any of it," he said.

On Wednesday, the US Treasury Department issued a press release stating that it had included two Indonesians, Afif Abdul Majid and Said Ahmad Sungkar, on its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list for their alleged involvement in providing financial support for Jamaah Islamiyah (JI) and Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT), labelled by the US government as terrorist groups.

NCB-Interpol said that they had not received any special notice about the matter from the Interpol system, through which the member countries could share any urgent information about international crimes.

The US Treasury Department has said that JI and JAT still posed threats because the two groups, which were established and inspired by firebrand cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, had links to the international terrorist organisation al-Qaeda.

"The threats posed by terrorist groups such as JI and JAT remain significant. We will continue to take action to protect the international financial system from illicit activity tied to these groups, making it ever more difficult for them to carry out their acts of violence," US Treasury's Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said in a statement.

Afif, who lives in Pacitan, East Java, allegedly provided funding to a terrorist camp and oversaw its recruitment process. As a member of JAT's consultative council (majelis syuro), he allegedly urged JAT fighters to take violent action against the National Police, according to the US treasury's statement. The US authorities said Afif donated US$2,000 (S$2,490) to support the Aceh terrorist training camp in early 2010.

Afif said that he was not concerned about the US move to designate him a terrorist. "I am just a preacher, it is impossible for me to have any assets in the US," he said, adding that he preached from mosque to mosque and there had never been any problems with his activities.

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