The country’s most wanted terrorist, Noordin M. Top, and his group, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), have recruited and trained nearly 450 members for bombing operations since 2000.
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Nanan Soekarna said Sunday that Noordin and JI, believed to be the regional arm of global terrorist network al-Qaeda, had provided training in bomb manufacturing, weapons handling, combat skills, recruitment techniques and suicide bombing to around 440 new recruits from across the archipelago.
“We can base these figures from [information provided by] members we have arrested and from those who have served time in jail. We have arrested and brought many of them to trial, while we continue trying to track down others,” he said.
Nanan said programs to rehabilitate and monitor convicted terrorists were weak, and with around 200 released from prison since 2002, the fear was that many would rejoin their former terror networks and radical sympathizers.
Nanan said links between suspects thought responsible for the 2004 Australian Embassy attack and the recent J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel bombings was testament to how the legal system had failed to deter future terrorist activity. Air Setiawan and Eko Joko Sarjono, who were suspects in the 2004 bombing, blew themselves up in last month's attacks in Jakarta that left 9 dead and more than 50 injured.
The fact both these bombers were teenagers also showed that extremists are able to appeal to young Muslims and convince them to commit mass murder, he said.
Nanan said JI was able to draw on hundreds of potential supporters due to the ongoing conflicts in Poso and Ambon.
A number of intelligence experts claim the terrorist network is still receiving significant funding from both local and international donors.
“They [donors] keep sending large amounts of money to the country, most of which is unfortunately sent via courier and thus very difficult to trace and stop,” Mardigu, a terrorist expert, said in Jakarta on Monday.
Usually the couriers enter the country through Dumai and Batam, he said, both regions located within a half hour of Singapore and Malaysia.
Head of the Center of Financial Transaction Report and Analysis (PPATK), Yunus Husein, said his office had detected at least 68 financial transactions during the 2004 to 2009 period that were allegedly related to terrorist activities. “We have handed over that record to the police,” he said.
Syaefudin Jailani, a key police target, reportedly received several payments of Rp 1 billion prior to the July 17 bombings from someone in Yemen through his neighbor’s account.
Nanan Soekarna said now the police were working hard to sever the flow of funds making it to terrorists within Indonesia.