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Indonesia Arrests Five Islamic State Suspects

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Indonesia said it has arrested five men suspected of raising funds and recruiting new members for the Islamic State group, which Jakarta calls ISIS.

At a news conference Monday, Vice Chief of Police, General Badrodin Haiti said the five were taken into custody Saturday in the suburbs of Jakarta.

“We’re in the midst of an investigation," he said. "But based on the initial data we have, they are involved in ISIS network," he said.

He added that authorities discovered travel documentation such as passports and airline tickets, several cell phones and cash in Indonesian and U.S. currencies when they raided the home of one of the suspects.

The suspects have not had a chance to publicly respond to the allegations against them.

Indonesia has been actively trying to combat recruitment by Islamic State, which it banned last year. But the police general said the group's recruitment efforts have spread to several parts of the country.

“ISIS pockets are not only in Poso [in central Sulawesi], but also in some other areas where there are ISIS followers or sympathizers," he said. Not only in Poso but they are also in East and Central Java, East Nusa Tenggara and South Sulawesi."

News of the arrests came as Indonesia opened a conference in Jakarta on the threat posed by the Islamic State.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla opened the meeting by saying the militant group has taken advantage of problems in Syria and Iraq.

“The ISIS problem is not only ideological,"he said. "Initially it was ideology, but then there was political turmoil, the weakening of government authority, and also economic problems.”

Din Syamsudin, chairman of the moderate Islamic group Muhammadiyah, said it is critical that groups like his discuss comprehensive steps to curb the Islamic State movement in Indonesia.

“Indeed ISIS and terrorism are a threat, not only for Muslims but also against humanity and civilization as a whole. What they do is seriously endanger civilization and simultaneously destroy Islam," he said.

He also called for the government to take firmer action against anyone who supports or joins the movement.

Dozens of Indonesians are believed to have joined the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Indonesia has said it is planning to revoke the citizenships of those who have joined the group.

Officials have said the radical group contradicts Indonesia’s pluralist state ideology, which is called Pancasila.

Ahadian Utama contributed to this report, which was produced in collaboration with the VOA Indonesian Service.