US adds Indonesian group, 3 leaders to terrorism list

The US government has added an Indonesian group and three of its leaders who are responsible for attacks in the country to the list of terrorist organizations and individuals.

Today the State Department added the Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT), or the Partisans of the Oneness of God, to the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and Specially Designated Global Terrorist entities. The Treasury Department added Mochammad Achwan, the terror group’s emir; Son Hadi bin Muhadjir, its spokesman; and Abdul Rosyid Ridho Ba’asyir, a JAT leader involved in recruiting members and financing operations, to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

“JAT is responsible for multiple coordinated attacks against innocent civilians, police, and military personnel in Indonesia,” the State Department said in its designation of the terror group. “JAT seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate in Indonesia, and has carried out numerous attacks on Indonesian Government personnel and civilians in order to achieve this goal,” the State designation continued.

Among the attacks carried out by JAT are the Sept. 25, 2011 suicide bombing at a church in Central Java that wounded dozens of worshipers, and a suicide attack at a mosque in West Java on April 15, 2011 that wounded 28 policemen.

The US government said that JAT was founded in 2008 by Abu Bakar Bashir, the spiritual leader and cofounder of Jemaah Islamiyah, an al Qaeda affiliate in Southeast Asia that has been behind numerous terror attacks in Indonesia. Bashir was arrested by Indonesian police in August 2010 on terrorism charges. In June 2011, a court found Bashir guilty of “committing a criminal act of terrorism” by founding and supporting a terrorist group known as al Qaeda in Aceh. One year later, he was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Mochammad Achwan

The Treasury Department said that Achwan was appointed by Bashir in August 2010 to serve as JAT’s acting emir.

Prior to being promoted to emir, Achwan “performed a number of leadership duties in JAT, overseeing the allocation of JAT funds and promoting JAT terrorist training, recruitment and operations,” as well as serving on the terror group’s executive council since its founding in 2008. Before joining JAT, Achwan served as Jemaah Islamiyah’s commander in East Java and was tasked by Bashir “with establishing a logistical hub for JI to plan and prepare attacks.”

In his role as a senior financier, Achwan directed the group to provide funds to Jemaah Islamiyah operative and “al Qaeda associate” Abdul Rahim Ba’asyir, who was one of three JI operatives added to the list of Specially Designated Global terrorists last year. Abdul Rahim served as a senior leader of Jemaah Islamiyah’s al Ghuraba cell in Karachi, Pakistan.

The Ghuraba cell was a joint effort by al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah to train a new generation of terrorists. The cell was tasked by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed with conducting a hijacking operation against the US, and its members received training from Lashkar-e-Taiba at LET facilities in Karachi as early as 2001, according to declassified and leaked US intelligence documents [for more information on the al Ghuraba cell, see LWJ report, Al Qaeda cell targeted by Treasury Department tied to multiple terror groups].

Additionally, Achwan “inducted new JAT recruits and instructed JAT members to obey the Emir and participate in physical training to prepare for possible warfare” and “directed paramilitary training in Poso, Indonesia, with a JI and JAT member who was arrested in Indonesia in December 2010.” While the operative was not named, it was likely Abu Tholut who was detained during a raid at his home in Central Java. Tholut had been involved in multiple bombings in Indonesia as well as raising funds for and recruiting and training terror cells. Tholut also established a training camp in Aceh.

Treasury also said that Achwan “instructed JAT’s military unit, also known as ‘Laskar 99,’ to unconditionally support violent activities throughout the world and informed them about weapons available to members with the requisite training.”

Achwan financed the establishment of al Qaeda in Aceh and the group’s terrorist training camps. Dulmatin, the notorious Jemaah Islamiyah leader, was given operational control of al Qaeda in Aceh. Other Jemaah Islamiyah leaders and operatives were also involved with al Qaeda in Aceh. The terror group, which was dismantled by Detachment 88, Indonesia’s counterterrorism force, “plotted to kill US aid workers and Western tourists.” Dulmatin was killed by Detachment 88 in March 2010.

Son Hadi bin Muhadjir

Son Hadi serves as the spokesman for JAT. He has previously served as “director of the JAT Media Center” and “held a leadership position in a regional JAT office as secretary for JAT proselytizing efforts in East Java.”

Before joining JAT, Son Hadi “provided support to the JI network’s operations,” Treasury said. In 2004, before joining JAT, Son Hadi was named “the leader of JI’s administrative region in East Java.” And “between 1997 and 2004, Son Hadi worked alongside a JI official in a foundation that at that time was a center of JI activities in Surabaya.”

Son Hadi is linked to some of Jemaah Islamiyah’s top leaders. In 2005, he was convicted of sheltering Noordin Mohammad Top, a Malaysian national who served as a senior leader in Jemaah Islamiyah; Son Hadi was sentenced to four years in prison. Before being killed in September 2009 by Detachment 88, Top was known as a highly effective recruiter, strategist, and fundraiser, and was behind the most deadly terror attacks in Indonesia. He masterminded the October 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people and injured 209; the August 2003 Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakarta; the September 2004 bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta; and the October 2005 Bali bombings. Top also planned and supervised the near-simultaneous suicide attacks at the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta in July 2009.

Son Hadi was directly involved with one of Jemaah Islamiyah’s terror attacks. He “took possession of the explosives used in JI’s 2004 bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, which killed nine people and injured 182 others,” according to Treasury.

Abdul Rosyid Ridho Ba’asyir

Abdul Rosyid is “a JAT leadership figure” who is “involved in recruiting JAT members and raising funds for JAT.” Like Achwan, Abdul Rosyid is a member of JAT’s executive council.

Abdul Rosyid plays an important military role in JAT. Over the past year, he “was taking an increasingly visible role in JAT’s Laskar 99 military unit, overseeing its routine management functions.”

“As of April 2010, Abdul Rosyid had started to recruit snipers and explosives specialists to be trained to become martyrs, probably on behalf of JAT,” Treasury stated. He used his position as the director of an Indonesian boarding school “to proselytize and recruit his students for membership in JAT and another JAT-associated group.”

Bashir sent Abdul Rosyid on JAT fundraising missions to a boarding school in Malaysia in 2010 and to Pakistan in 2011.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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