US adds 2 Indonesian jihadists to terrorism list

The US government has added two members of Indonesian jihadist groups to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists for their activities with the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah and Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid.

Today the US Treasury Department added Said Ahmad Sungkar for his “fundraising efforts” with both Jemaah Islamiyah (JI, or the Partisans of Islam) and Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT, or the Partisans of the Oneness of God); and Afif Abdul Majid for “the recruitment and training of terrorists in Indonesia.”

Sungkar was designated by the US government “for providing financial, material, or technological support, or financial or other services, to JI and JAT,” Treasury stated in a press release. “Sungkar has been involved in supporting Indonesia-based JI and JAT terrorist networks over a number of years. Most recently, Sungkar conducted fundraising and recruiting for JAT in 2013.” He also helped wanted terrorists in Indonesia evade capture. Additionally, Sunkar had served as the “media chief” for Jemaah Islamiyah.

Sunkar is linked to Dulmatin, a top leader and military commander in Jemaah Islamiyah, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Southeast Asia, before he was killed by Indonesian counterterrorism forces from Detachment 88 in 2010. Dulmatin attended al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan in the 1990s and was notorious for his bombmaking skills and deadly attacks. Dulmatin was one of the masterminds of the 2002 terror attack at a Bali resort in Indonesia.

Before his death, Dulmatin ran a training camp that was tied to a terror group that called itself Al Qaeda in Aceh, a JI subgroup.

Majid is described as a senior JAT leader who also sat on the group’s governing council. He has “played a role in coordinating the activities of regional JAT leaders” and once served as “the head of JAT’s Central Java branch.” He is known to have “headed JAT recruitment efforts for a paramilitary wing that provided training for fighters, weapons experts, and hackers.”

Majid also provided cash, weapons, and ammunition to support the Al Qaeda in Aceh training camp.

JAT and three of its leaders were added to the US government’s list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists in February 2012. In the designation, the State Department said that “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.”

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.

Even though Bashir is in prison, he is known to have continued his support for jihadist activities. In September 2012, just days after Ansar al Sharia Libya attacked a US diplomatic facility in Benghazi and killed the US ambassador and three Americans, Bashir called on Indonesians to conduct a similar attack.

“What happened in Libya can be imitated,” he told, according to the Jakarta Post. “If it is defaming God and the Prophet [Muhammad], the punishment should be death. [There are] no other considerations.”

“[I]f the one that was defamed is Allah, the Prophet or his Shariah [Islamic law], death is the punishment. The Prophet is much more precious than our souls,” Bashir continued.

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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