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

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs