Meet Indonesia's most-wanted terrorist

Meet Indonesia's most-wanted terrorist

Ambitious but inexperienced, a relatively little-known terrorist is now leading the charge to turn Poso into an Islamic State "province"

He has called on the Islamic State (IS) leadership to declare Poso on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi an IS "province".

His terrorist training camp has hosted hundreds in the rugged jungles in the region of Poso.

The Indonesian authorities, including counter-terrorism unit Detachment 88, are hunting him down.

Santoso is Indonesia's most wanted terrorist.


Son of a Javanese migrant to Poso

Worked on a project for the Ministry of Public Works

Also known as Abu Wardah, Abu Yahyaor, or simply San. He was a member of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), and received training in Indonesia and Afghanistan

Santoso began his religious education after meeting Isam Mohammad Tahir Al-Barqawi, a Jordanian-Palestinian jihadist cleric

Later received cash assistance from the Poso Regional Government to create a small business as part of a deradicalisation programme

In 2013, Santoso gave himself the name Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi Al-Indunesi, after Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, the founder of IS's forerunner, Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Took an oath to IS leader Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi and wants Poso to become an IS "province"

Has been escalating the use of violence. On Sept 19, 2014, Santoso is believed to have killed an informant by slashing his throat to mimic methods used by IS


In 2010, a Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) training camp in Aceh was discovered and authorities killed and arrested several of its members

Many regrouped and joined Santoso, who became a junior JAT leader

Santoso ran a training camp in Poso, which attracted former JI and JAT members

Called his group East Indonesian Mujahideen (MIT)

By 2012, Santoso's group had called for and launched attacks against the Indonesian police. He later declared his group independent of JAT and JI

A media wing was formed in 2013 and videos were uploaded soon after

His rise is unusual as previous leaders were picked based on their kinship to top leaders


Sibghotullah Met and arranged wedding for Bali bomber Dulmatin

Sought refuge with Santoso who hid him from authorities

After his release from prison in 2014, he contacted Santoso

He was arrested in Malaysia in Nov 2014 while trying to get to Syria with his family Arif Turban l Helped recruit and buy arms for jihadi groups

Also ran jihadi website and chat forum

He forged links overseas for local groups, including Santoso's MIT

Worked to raise money for his good friend Arif Wicaksono who headed Santoso's media wing Arif Wicaksono, alias Hendro

Left for Poso to escape police sweep

Has been helping Santoso run the MIT media arm l Linked up Santoso's struggles with global jihadists

Made a video mocking Indonesia's anti-terror unit Detachment 88 in 2012

Was involved in an MIT operation commanded by Santoso which led to the kidnapping and murder of two Indonesian police officers in Poso

Mohammad Hidayat, alias Dayat, Computer student who attended training at Santoso's cam used his IT skills to hack a multi-level marketing company website and stole about 7 bilion rupiah (S$705,000). Part of it was used by MIT to bomb a church

In 2013, Dayat helped Santoso secure an Indonesian suicide bomber. They targeted a police station in May that year and intended to kill the police officers. The bomb exploded, but only the suicide bomber was killed Sabar Subagio, alias Daeng Koro

Santoso's chief lieutanant

Trained hundreds of Indonesians in Poso between between 2010 and 2014 l Many of the graduates are now all over Indonesia

Killed on Apr 4, 2015 during a security operation Information culled from reports by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflicts

This article was first published on June 15, 2015.
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