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Jakarta Post

Most wanted fugitive incites war against Densus 88

  • Yuliasri Perdani and Ruslan Sangadji

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta/Palu   /   Wed, July 10, 2013   /  10:12 am
Most wanted fugitive incites war against Densus 88 Menacing: Terror fugitive Santoso, who also goes by the name Abu Wardah, appears in a YouTube video uploaded on July 7. Santoso — a member of Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT), which has been labeled a terrorist organization — is believed to have secretly recruited and trained individuals in the Poso area. (Courtesy of YouTube)

Menacing: Terror fugitive Santoso, who also goes by the name Abu Wardah, appears in a YouTube video uploaded on July 7. Santoso '€” a member of Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT), which has been labeled a terrorist organization '€” is believed to have secretly recruited and trained individuals in the Poso area. (Courtesy of YouTube)

A man claiming to be most-wanted terror fugitive Santoso appeared on a video uploaded to YouTube, calling on jihadists to keep fighting the National Police'€™s Densus 88 counterterrorism squad.

The 6-minute video, called Risalah Kepada Ummat Islam di Kota Poso (A Message to the Muslim Community in Poso), was uploaded by an account under the name Al-Himmah on Sunday, but the press was not aware of its existence until Tuesday.

In the video, the man claiming to be Santoso delivered his messages while brandishing a handgun in the woods. Two masked men armed with riffles stood behind him.

'€œTo our brothers, especially in Poso [Central Sulawesi]. Yesterday, I heard about your clashes against Densus 88. I am very proud to hear the news,'€ he said.

He went on to say that the counterterrorism squad had slain, assaulted and jailed dozens of '€œour brothers'€.

'€œHopefully, we are the generation who will battle against the hostility of Densus 88. Densus 88 is the real enemy, the real demon,'€ said the supposed leader of the East Indonesia Mujahideen. The video also featured a group of men, who appeared to be Mujahideen combatants, demonstrating their shooting skills.

The National Police have not confirmed the identity of the men featured in the video, but Central Sulawesi spokesperson Adj. Sr. Comr. Soemarno believed that the extremists shot the video in Poso.

'€œThe video was filmed in Koroncopu, Poso Pesisir,'€ he said on Tuesday.

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Ronny F. Sompie said that Densus 88 was still analyzing the video and the police had not decided whether the controversial video would be blocked.

As of Tuesday evening, the video had been viewed over 4,300 times.

Terrorism expert Noor Huda Ismail of the Institute for International Peace Building was unsure if the man was Santoso. '€œHe used to have longer hair,'€ he said.

Noor Huda suggested that the video was made to recruit new members to the fore and rebuild the cell'€™s network following a series of raids by Densus 88 in May that killed seven suspected terrorists.

Among the slain terrorist suspects was Abu Roban, the West Indonesia Mujahideen leader, who allegedly masterminded a number of robberies around Java to finance terror acts led by Santoso in Poso.

Since May, the counterterrorism squad has detained more than 20 terror suspects.

Noor Huda suggested that the video reflected that terrorist cells were utilizing the potential of the Internet.

'€œThe Internet, particularly social media, now plays a strong role. People can even learn how to assemble bombs from websites. I suggested the authorities block the video, as it could inspire many would-be jihadists,'€ he said.

The regency of Poso was marred by bloody civil clashes from 1998 that claimed around 1,000 lives and displaced 25,000 people. Despite the Malino peace accord signed by Muslim and Christian leaders in 2001, attacks and clashes instigated by radical Muslims continue to occur.

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