News / Asia

    Indonesia Searching for Fugitive Terrorists

    North Sumatra Regional Police spokesperson Col. Raden Heru Prakoso shows the mug shots of four convicted terrorist who were among more than 200 inmates who escaped Tanjung Gusta prison, July 16, 2013.
    North Sumatra Regional Police spokesperson Col. Raden Heru Prakoso shows the mug shots of four convicted terrorist who were among more than 200 inmates who escaped Tanjung Gusta prison, July 16, 2013.
    Kate Lamb
    The search in Indonesia for four terrorists continues, a week after hundreds of inmates escaped from a maximum-security prison in Sumatra.  Indonesian police have deployed a special operations unit to capture the dangerous individuals and neighboring Malaysia is on high alert.

    More than 200 inmates managed to escape Tanjung Gusta Prison in the fatal riot that ensued last Thursday as prisoners protested against poor facilities and a tighter remissions policy.
     
    More than 100 of the escaped fugitives have been recaptured, but 106 prisoners are on the loose - including four convicted terrorists.
     
    The four men: Fadli Sadama, Agus Sunyoto, Nibras and Abdul Gani Sirgear - were jailed in connection with a bank robbery in North Sumatra, and an attack on a police station in 2010.
     
    The fugitives are said to be linked to Toni Togar, an Indonesian terrorist with ties to the Southeast Asian extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah. Togar is currently serving a 20-year sentence for his role in a series of church bombings in 2000.
     
    Indonesian terror analyst Noor Huda Ismail said that of the four, Fadli Sadama, a repeat offender with regional terror linkages, is the most dangerous.

    “He is a very committed individual to the cause, to the jihad," the analyst explained. "I interviewed him two times and he expressed no remorse whatsoever for what he did in the past. So the likelihood of him going back to his networks is quite high. But the challenge is whether he can find a safe house, or contacts that can support him as well as logistical support.”
     
    Huda said there is a strong link between jihadists and criminals in Sumatra, and Sadama is likely to exploit both to find a safe refuge.
     
    In the past,  Sadama, 27, smuggled methamphetamines from Malaysia to Indonesia to fund terror activities.
     
    He was arrested in the Malaysian state of Johor Baru in 2010 after he was caught trying to smuggle guns back into Indonesia.
     
    With multiple illegal entry points, Malaysia’s counterterrorism taskforce says it has advised authorities to more vigilantly patrol its borders.
     
    The National Police has deployed its U.S.-funded anti-terrorism taskforce to Medan, released pictures of the individuals and urged the public to report any sightings.
     
    But Noor Huda Ismail said the prison outbreak is symptomatic of wider problems in Indonesia’s detention system.
     
    “I think what happened in Medan is only the tip of an iceberg," the analyst noted. "It is only the problem that you see on the surface. Underground, our operations are still facing difficult problems with over-capacity, corruption and also human resources problems. So terrorism is just one of the problems, but the prison conditions generally are a problem."
     
    A reminder of the problems within the prison system surfaced Wednesday morning, when 12 inmates escaped from Negara Baloi detention center in Batam.
     
    The fugitives, who held the prison warden captive until he released them, are all suspects in various drug-related cases.

    You May Like

    No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration

    What began as a struggle for dominance in space between two world powers has changed entirely to one of joint efforts

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Move Over Millennials, Here Comes iGeneration

    How the first generation to be born, almost literally, with a smartphone in hand, might change America

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    British Government to Resettle Unaccompanied Child Refugeesi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    May 06, 2016 9:24 PM
    After criticism from lawmakers across the political spectrum, the British government has signaled that it will accept thousands of unaccompanied Syrian child refugees who have fled to Europe. It follows a campaign by a group of former Jewish refugees who were given refuge in Britain from Nazi persecution in the 1930s. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video British Government to Resettle Unaccompanied Child Refugees

    After criticism from lawmakers across the political spectrum, the British government has signaled that it will accept thousands of unaccompanied Syrian child refugees who have fled to Europe. It follows a campaign by a group of former Jewish refugees who were given refuge in Britain from Nazi persecution in the 1930s. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Strangers Share Secrets Through Postcards

    Frank Warren owns a million secrets. Strangers from around the world send him postcards with their confessions, their disappointments, and their hopes for the future, all anonymously. He displays his favorites online and in exhibits, and shares them with audiences in sold-out appearances around the globe. As VOA's Julie Taboh reports, what started as a simple social experiment has evolved into a multi-faceted and hugely successful global phenomenon.
    Video

    Video Largest Ground-based Telescope Under Construction

    While NASA's engineers are nearing the final phase of assembling the new James Webb space telescope, scheduled to be deployed in 2018, an international consortium led by the U.S. is laying foundations and building parts for a ground-based telescope, much larger than any other. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora