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Militants in Aceh Are Jemaah Islamiyah, Say Police


Banda Aceh, TAG. National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri said on Tuesday that armed militants on the run in the remote mountains of Aceh are part of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terrorist network.



Bambang said the militants, who have been the target of a bloody three-week police manhunt across the province, had been undergoing terrorist training in Jalin Jantho, Aceh Besar district, before their camp was raided on Feb. 22. 


“They are all members of the regional Jemaah Islamiyah network, who are most wanted for their role in a string of bombings,” he said.


JI is a Southeast Asian network affiliated with Al Qaeda. The group is blamed for killing 202 people in Bali in 2002 and 12 others at the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in 2003. 


A splinter JI group led by Noordin M Top, who was killed last year in a police raid in Central Java, is blamed for bombing the Australian Embassy in 2004, as well as last July’s twin bombings of the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta.


Authorities have said the Aceh militants were linked to alleged terrorists shot dead or captured last week in Tangerang. In the past three weeks, police have killed seven people and arrested 31 in operations in Aceh, Jakarta, Banten and West Java.


“We are still chasing the rest of the network’s members,” Bambang said.


He also dismissed earlier speculation that the militants in Aceh were former members of the defunct separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM), which signed a peace agreement with the central government in 2005.


“It’s purely Jemaah Islamiyah. The network is up to something in Aceh,” he said, without elaborating.


Ansyaad Mbai, head of the counterterrorism desk at the Coordinating Ministry for Legal, Political and Security Affairs, was reported as saying last week that terrorists could be targeting the busy sea lanes in the Malacca Strait off Aceh’s southeast coast. 


However, Ansyaad said JI was so fractured due to counter-terrorism efforts that any militant group could claim to carry its banner.


Bambang on Tuesday visited the Leupung Police station in remote Aceh Besar to honor local officers who shot dead two alleged JI terrorists on Friday and arrested eight others.
In a speech, the National Police chief identified the two dead suspects as Encang Kurnia, 31, and Pura Sudarman, aka Jaja, 40, both from Bandung. 


He said they were JI members and had been on the most-wanted list of Densus 88, the National Police’s counter-terrorism squad. 


He said Sudarman’s younger brother, Tono, another suspected terrorist still on the loose and most likely in Aceh, was involved in a planned attack on the motorcade of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last year that was disrupted by police.


“He [Tono] is armed with an AK-47 and very dangerous,” he said.


Bambang reminded the public that the manhunt in Aceh was not over.


“There are still 14 remaining dangerous men [on the most-wanted list] walking free around us who are highly skilled,” Bambang said.[]
Militants in Aceh Are Jemaah Islamiyah, Say Police Militants in Aceh Are Jemaah Islamiyah, Say Police Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on March 18, 2010 Rating: 5

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