Dozen missing after apparently joining Gafatar
Slamet Susanto and Ganug Nugroho Adi
The Jakarta Post
The number of people reported missing and believed to have joined the Fajar Nusantara Movement (Gafatar) in Yogyakarta has reached 12 as of Tuesday and is expected to rise further.
'We received four reports today, one last night and six earlier. [Based on the reports], as many as 12 people are reported missing,' Yogyakarta Police spokeswoman Adj. Sr. Comr. Anny Pudjiastuti said on Tuesday.
She added that the number of missing people would likely increase, as many cases had gone unreported.
Separately, Comr. Suwandi, chief of police in Kasihan district of Yogyakarta's Bantul regency, said on Tuesday that police had received reports on the disappearance of members from two families: a husband, wife and two children and a single family member.
The former village chief of Bangunjiwo village in Kasihan, Bibit Rustamto, said Gafatar had set up a basis in his village when he served as village head in 2011.
'Once, five Gafatar members came to my home to ask for a permit to carry out art and cultural activities,' said Bibit.
However, later the Gafatar members would often hold closed-door meetings, with (so many) vehicles parked outside that they would overflow onto the street.
As of Tuesday, Yogyakarta Police has conducted a thorough investigation into the case of a married couple, Eko and Evi, believed to have been recruited by doctor Rica Tri Handayani.
Rica, who works at the Dr. Sardjito Regional Hospital, disappeared earlier with her child, but police in Pangkalan Bun, West Kotawaringin, Central Kalimantan, were able to locate them.
'We have not named them as suspects yet. [The case] is still being examined,' said Yogyakarta Police chief detective Sr. Comr. Hudit Wahyudi, adding that police were also investigating Rica.
Separately, two students from the state-run March 11 University in Surakarta, Central Java, have also gone missing since December last year. Silvi Nurfitriani and Finda Amalia Ma'ruf, both students at the engineering school, are believed to have joined Gafatar.
According to school dean Eko Pujianto, Silvi and Finda had never attended lectures since December last year. Silvi's family reported the disappearance to the school, because she could not be reached since
A first-year student at the SMA 1 senior high school in Yogakarta's Sleman, Ahmad Kevin Aprilio, 16, was also reported missing by his family.
Kevin apparently left home on Nov. 26, 2015, and is believed to have joined Gafatar.
According to kompas.com news, Gafatar is a banned organization in Indonesia, based on Home Ministerial Decree No. 220/2012.
In June last year, the Banda Aceh District Court sentenced six Gafatar leaders to three to four years in jail for defaming Islam.
The court said the convicts defamed Islam, since they acknowledged their spiritual leader, Ahmad Musadeq, as a messiah.
In 2008, the South Jakarta District Court sentenced Musadeq, who founded the Al Qiyadah Al Islamiyah organization, to four years in jail for blasphemy by declaring himself a prophet.
Gafatar was widely reported as the new name of Al Qiyadah Al Islamiyah. But Gafatar leader Mahful M. Tumanurung said on the group's website that the organization was not a religious group.
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