Terrorism in Far East : Jakarta attack planner has crucial role in IS, police say

Most wanted: Bahrun Naim, aka Singgih Tamtomo, aka Abu Rayan, (pictured) listens to his trial for illegal possession of ammunition in Surakarta District Court in 2011. Bahrun, who is suspected of having masterminded terror attacks in the area around the Sarinah shopping center on Jl. MH Thamrin, Central Jakarta, last Thursday, reportedly plays a crucial role in the Islamic State (IS) movement. He is reportedly still in Syria. (Tempo) - 
Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian has said Bahrun Naim, aka Singgih Tamtomo, aka Abu Rayan, who is suspected of orchestrating the terror attack near the Sarinah shopping center on Jl. MH Thamrin, Central Jakarta, on Thursday, plays a crucial role in the Islamic State (IS) group.
He said Bahrun was the main connection between IS leaders and terrorist cells in Indonesia.
“Regarding his relationship with IS in Syria, Bahrun Naim’s role is crucial because he is the main connector between IS and elite groups and foot soldiers and cells in Indonesia,” said Tito as quoted by kompas.com after a call-of-readiness ceremony of security forces personnel at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta on Monday.
Eight people, including four civilians, were left dead, while more than 20 others were injured, following the suicide bombings and gun attacks on Thursday.
Bahrun has been bruited as the mastermind and funding source of several terrorist acts in Indonesia. It is reported that Bahrun is currently in Syria.
A brief recorded message believed to have been sent by Bahrun has been circulating among IS activists in Surakarta, Central Java, following the Jakarta attacks. The police had not yet determined the authenticity of the voice on the recording, however, Tito said.
“Not yet. We have not yet examined the recording,” said Tito.
Police arrested Bahrun for the illegal possession of ammunition ahead of the arrival of US President Barack Obama in Indonesia in November 2010. Surakarta District Court later sentenced Bahrun to two-and-a-half years in prison.
In 2014, Bahrun is believed to have flown to Syria to join IS. Thursday's attack is being viewed as Bahrun’s effort to prove his influence in Indonesia so that he can be appointed as the IS leader in Southeast Asia.
“Bahrun aims to establish Khatibah Nusantara [Islamic states] in Southeast Asia. He also wants to be the leader of the IS group in the Central Asia and Bahrun is reported to have a tough rival from the Southern Philippines for this position,” said Tito.
Bahrun has other connections with militant networks in Indonesia.
“A member of the Abu Musad group, Arif Hidayatullah, who was arrested in a boarding house in Bekasi and reportedly aimed to launch a terror attack in December 2015, had direct communication with Bahrun Naim,” said Tito.
Apart from the Abu Musad group, another terror group identified only as the HD group, several of whose members were arrested in Bekasi some time ago, was reported to have a connection with Bahrun. During the police raid in Bekasi nine weapons were seized.
Tito said during their investigation, the police revealed that the Sarinah attackers traveled from Meruya, West Jakarta, prior to the attack. They reportedly did not have direct contact with Bahrun, only via a variety of messengers. (ebf)

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