Abu Bakar Ba’asyir: JP/Wendra Ajistyatama
The United States has formally included hard-line Islam group Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT), an extremist organization founded by infamous cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir in 2008, on its list of foreign terror networks.
The US Department of State said on its website that the group was responsible for multiple coordinated attacks against innocent civilians, police and military personnel in Indonesia. "JAT has robbed banks and carried out other illicit activities to fund the purchase of assault weapons, pistols and bomb-making materials," the department said.
A JAT suicide bomber detonated explosives in a Central Java church in September last year, killing himself and wounding dozens of others. The police have also uncovered additional suicide plots by the group across the archipelago, it added.
It also alluded to the role of JAT's co-founder, Ba'asyir, as a co-founder of Jemaah Islamiyah, another hard-line group believed to be responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed more than 200 people.
Jemaah Islamiyah was previously included on the list of terrorist organizations by the State Department, while Ba'asyir was also subjected to sanctions by US authorities.
Additionally, the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has blacklisted three individuals associated with JAT - Mochammad Achwan, the group's acting emir, Son Hadi bin Muhadjir, its spokesman, and another leader, Abdul Rosyid Ridho Ba'asyir.
Any property or assets owned in the US by the three will consequently be frozen and US citizens and corporations will be prohibited from engaging in financial transactions with them.
"By designating the leaders of JAT, OFAC is taking another step to ensure that terrorists are cut off from the international financial system and find it ever more difficult to carry out their acts of violence, no matter where they are based," OFAC director Adam Szubin said in a Treasury Department statement.