16 Indonesians Arrested in Turkey Wanted to Join IS: Minister

ID-abujandal-620-March2015 “Abu Jandal al-Yemeni al-Indonesi” appears in an Islamic State propaganda video posted on YouTube in 2014.

An Indonesian jihadist who threatened his home country in an online video late last year may have been waiting for his family to join him, when they were arrested trying to enter Syria this week.

Officials believe that a woman and seven children – among a group of 16 Indonesians stopped this week as they tried to cross from Turkey into Syria – are the wife and kids of Islamic State (IS) member “Abu Jandal al-Yemeni al-Indonesi,” the Jakarta Globe reported, citing National Police Deputy Chief Badrodin Haiti.

In a video posted online in December 2014, Abu Jandal threatens to “slaughter … one by one” those who oppose Sharia law in Indonesia.

“We have obtained the identities of the 16 people and we will match them with data from our embassy,” Badrodin said on Friday.

Meanwhile, other Indonesian officials confirmed that the 16 were trying to join IS in war-torn Syria, news wire services reported Friday.

"We have obtained information that they were indeed trying to cross into Syria," Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told reporters, adding that the Indonesian government was sending a team to Turkey to help that country with its investigation into the case.

"We are still investigating ... but it is clear that they wanted to join (IS) to have a better life in accordance with Islamic sharia laws," Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, told reporters on Thursday night.  

The 16 were arrested along a route frequented by IS sympathizers, Tanju Bilgic, a spokesman for the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters in Ankara, according to Indonesia’s state-run Antara news agency.

Thirty-two Indonesians

Indonesian officials had earlier announced that the 16 Indonesians in Turkish custody were not the same 16 Indonesians who vanished in Turkey in late February after breaking away from their tour group.

That first group has yet to be found, but Indonesian government officials suspect they too were planning to join IS.

Other members of the second group apparently have ties to slain Indonesian extremists.

A mother and child within the group are related to “A.H.”, a jihadist who was killed in combat in Syria, Detik.com, a Bahasa-language site, reported on Thursday.

Others are related to “M.H.”, a suspected extremist who was killed during a raid by Indonesian police commandos in Tulungagung regency, East Java in July 2013, Detik.com reported.

‘If you’re not coming, we will come to you’

Late last year, Abu Jandal – whose real name is Salim Mubarok Attamimi – appeared in a video in which he made threats against Moeldoko, the head of the Indonesian armed forces, the National Police, and the elite police unit Densus 88 that killed “M.H.” in July 2013.

He also singled out the security wing of the Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), which is typically staffed by youth volunteers.

"I am sending this message to you,” Abu Jandal said in the video, addressing the organizations by name.

"We are awaiting your arrival here (in Syria)… If you're not coming, we will come to you. We will return to Indonesia to enforce Sharia Islam. For those who are against us, we will slaughter each of you one by one."  

Abu Jandal has appeared in several videos from Syria, including one produced with English subtitles by IS’s Al-Hayat media wing.

A special team

President Joko Widodo has ordered the formation of an inter-agency task force that will probe the case of the Indonesians arrested in Turkey.

"The government will send a security team to Turkey to carry out further investigations into their motives and enhance our cooperation and coordination with Turkish authorities," Antara quoted Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir as saying Friday.

The team going to Turkey will consist of officials from the ministry, the National Intelligence Agency (BIN), National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), and the National Police, he said.

By BenarNews Staff with details from news reports


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