News / Asia

Indonesian Terror Mastermind Vows to Continue Jihad

Islamist militant Sigit Indrajit, center, is escorted by plain-clothed police officers after his sentencing proceeding at a district court in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 21, 2014.
Islamist militant Sigit Indrajit, center, is escorted by plain-clothed police officers after his sentencing proceeding at a district court in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 21, 2014.
Kate Lamb
The Indonesian courts this week jailed the mastermind of a planned terrorist attack on the Burmese Embassy in Jakarta. Sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison, the hardliner vowed he would continue to fight the enemies of Islam.
 
Sigit Indrajit was the third to be jailed in the foiled embassy bomb plot. Police apprehended the hardliners in Jakarta last May, one with a backpack full of explosives.
 
At an earlier trial Indrajit confessed to leading the planned attack to avenge the deaths of ethnic Rohingya Muslims, a minority group denied citizenship in Burma.
 
The treatment of the Rohingya, who have been the focus of violent attacks in mainly Buddhist Burma over the past year, has generated widespread anger in Indonesia.
 
Given the potential severity of the attack on a diplomatic mission in the country’s economic and political center, terrorism analysts say the court’s decision this week could have been more severe.
 
According to Todd Elliot, an analyst from Concorde Consulting, it is likely Indrajit won’t serve the full sentence, and will be released with an “elevated stature.”
 
“He will do his time, maybe get out early, sentence reductions or whatever, he’ll be out in a couple of years," opined Elliot, "and he’ll go right out into the terrorist movement, not only that he will come out with an elevated stature in the movement as he in jail because he participated in this plot he’ll come out with a degree of respect among the jihadist community.”
 
The embassy plot followed calls from Abu Bakar Bashir, who from behind bars urged Indonesian Muslims to pursue jihad in Burma, also known as Myanmar.
 
Bashir is one of the founders of Jemaah Islamiyah, or JI, the terrorist organization behind the deadly 2002 nightclub bombings in Bali.
 
He is currently serving a 15-year jail term.
 
Despite a significant crackdown on terrorist networks such as JI following the Bali bombings, analysts say the embassy plot points to the resilience of splinter groups - the most recent manifestation of extremist activity here.

“Groups like JI that attack targets in Bali and Jakarta, you know, they are pretty much in decline or have been eradicated by the successes of the counterterrorism apparatus," explained Elliot, "but violent jihad has not been eradicated, so as a result it has morphed into this dispersed, less predictable threat which is what we are seeing now.”
 
Rather than large-scale attacks, the Indonesian terrorist landscape is comprised of a decentralized mix of networks.
 
Groups who support jihad in countries such as Burma and Syria often use social media to garner support and recruit.
 
Indrajit, for example, met some of his accomplices on Facebook after posting messages about the persecution of Rohingya Muslims.
 
This year alone, authorities have identified several so-called splinter jihadists.
 
In January police shot dead six terrorists in an overnight shootout, west of Jakarta. And at the start of this week, police arrested two extremists they allege were ready to launch attacks on officers.
 
But terrorism analyst Noor Huda Ismail says that even when convicted terrorists are put in prison, they often come out more radicalized. Hardline materials such as books, even cell phones, are easily smuggled into Indonesian jails.
 
“More importantly terrorist inmates have easy access to meet with other inmates because even though they are segregated, during a certain time, usually the morning or afternoon, their cell will be opened up and they can mingle with other prisoners,” Huda said.
 
The analyst, who heads the Institute for the International Peace Building, an NGO, works with convicted terrorists to challenge their hardline views.
 
He also helps them reintegrate into society once they are released.
 
But he says terrorist recruitment is a huge problem inside Indonesian jails, with hardliners slowly but gradually building relationship with criminal inmates.
 
“Because these terrorist inmates are driven by ideology, they are smarter, they can provide hope to other criminal inmates then naturally those inmates will come to them and ask for advice, and their perspective," Huda explained.
 
Indonesia has more Muslims than the entire Arab world, but most do not subscribe to radical views.
 
Inspired by global jihadist causes from the Philippines to Afghanistan, fringe radical groups have existed for decades in Indonesia.

You May Like

Somalia: No Popular Elections in 2016

In interview Wednesday with VOA, President Mohamud says 'one person, one vote' elections will not be possible due to continuing insecurity More

Scientists Predict Climate Change Will Increase Child Malnutrition

Public health expert in Germany says that by 2050, 25 million more children's lives will be put at risk because of lack of nutrients tied to climate change More

Erdogan in China Amid Tensions on Uighurs, Missile System

Turkey's president has criticized China's heavy-handed policies toward Uighurs in violence-plagued Xinjiang region, where China says it is fighting foreign-backed separatists More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Cassidy from: UK
January 22, 2014 11:54 AM
the problem with US is that we do not listen to them... we think that somehow they don't mean what they clearly do mean. we see this in Philistine mothers strap suicide vests on their children, Syrian Suicide bombers, Iraqi suicide murderers, Iranian degeneracy... look at Lebanon... look at Holland for crying out loud - with their huge Arab population... Germany, Italy, full of ghastly Iranians and Arabs... we must do something to confront this evil. NOW!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs