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Jakarta Post

Alleged Tangerang terrorist always neat and well behaved, say neighbors

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, May 17, 2018   /   02:35 pm
Alleged Tangerang terrorist always neat and well behaved, say neighbors Members of the National Police's Densus 88 counterterror squad assist a colleague put on a blast suit on May 15, before searching the residence of a family suspected of involvement in Sunday's suicide bombings in Surabaya, East Java. (AFP/Juni Kriswanto)

Muhammad Choir, 32, the man the National Police’s Densus 88 counterterrorism squad arrested on Wednesday for his alleged involvement in a terror group, always looked neat and relaxed in public, a neighbor has said.

The neighbor, who identified herself only as Vera, said that Muhammad often took a morning walk around their neighborhood on Jl. Gempol Raya, Tangerang, wearing a T-shirt and shorts.

It was only on Friday that Muhammad, who had a thin beard, wore a loose tunic or gamis.

According to the tempo.co report, Vera said she knew Muhammad as a tailor who made school uniforms, sports attire and Islamic dress.

“He received a lot of orders, especially for early childhood school [PAUD] uniforms. His customers were mostly women,” Vera said on Wednesday as quoted by tempo.co.

Another neighbor, Midah, 43, said Muhammad was a nice neighbor that he called “Om Choir”, or "Uncle Choir".

“When he went back to his hometown in Medan, he bought me coffee as a gift. When he went to Sukabumi, Om Choir brought me mochi,” she said.

Sukabumi is the hometown of Choir’s wife, whom he married three months ago. Choir lived in a rental house for about a year, paying annual rent of about Rp 10 million (US$710.64).

Midah said Choir’s house was full of sewing machines.

Choir only had one employee, identified only as G, who was nicknamed Ujang and also arrested on Wednesday.

“I don’t know their real names. I called them Om Choir, Ujang and Teteh (a common Sundanese title meaning "elder sister") for [Choir’s] wife,” said Midah.

On Wednesday, Densus 88 personnel raided several locations on Jl. Gempol in Pinang and on Jl. Kunciran Indah, which is located about 1 kilometer from Jl. Gempol.

They arrested Muhammad, G and another man identified as A who were allegedly involved in a terrorist group. Muhammad’s wife was also detained as a witness.

National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Setyo Waseso said they suspected the group was part of the Jakarta branch of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a local group that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS). (cal/ebf)