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Report: Southeast Asia Militant Groups Weakened since Bali Prosecution

A new report says terrorism in Southeast Asia has been dealt a serious blow since the prosecution of the Bali bombers in Indonesia. It also warns that there are longer-term problems that must be addressed.

The report, from the International Crisis Group, says that Southeast Asia's best-known militant group, Jemaah Islamiyah, is divided over tactics and ideology. Members of the group were responsible for the 2002 Bali bombing that killed more than 20 people.

The report says the Jemaah Islamiyah faction favored by the most violent militants, the men who planned both the Bali bombing and last August's attack on the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, seems to be the minority. Moreover, dozens of arrests since the two bombings have cut the faction's ranks, and a few more arrests could put it out of business.

But the other faction remains committed to holy war and is developing long-term plans to create an Islamic state in Indonesia. In addition, new hard-line militant groups are springing up.

The report highlights a group named Mujahidin KOMPAK, which it says has displayed a readiness to get involved in Indonesia's simmering religious conflicts. The group has mainly attacked Indonesian Christian communities around the area of Poso on the island of Sulawesi.

"Jemaah Islamiyah is not only not the only game in town in terms of organizations that have a radical jihadist bent and that have a capacity to do serious damage, it may not even be the most dangerous organization," said Sidney Jones,one of the authors of the new report,in Jakarta office.

The International Crisis Group says that both Jemaah Islamiyah and Mujahidin KOMPAK are still recruiting. It says the majority of Jemaah Islamiyah is concentrating on religious indoctrination and building mass support for an Islamic state in Indonesia. Many Jemaah Islamiyah members think those aims were not helped by the unwelcome publicity bought on by the Bali and Marriott bombings.

Ms. Jones emphasizes that Indonesia's radical Islamic fringe constitutes a tiny minority in an overwhelmingly moderate country. But she warns that despite their relatively modest numbers, the militants will constitute a threat for years to come.