Indonesia Probes Passports Seized in Turkish Terror Raid

Tia Asmara
170111-ID-turkey-1000 Pictures of victims of a New Year’s Day terrorist attack at a nightclub in Istanbul lie atop Turkish flags at a makeshift memorial in the city, Jan. 3, 2017.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) are investigating the discovery of Indonesian passports at a house raided by Turkish police in connection with a terror attack at a nightclub in Istanbul on New Year’s Day.

Thirty-nine people were killed by a lone gunman at the Reina nightclub in the early hours of Jan. 1, in an attack claimed by the extremist group Islamic State (IS). Turkey has been a gateway for Southeast Asians heading to Syria or Iraq to join IS, according to Indonesian and Malaysian authorities.

The new investigation in Indonesia unfolded as the U.S. government this week designated an Indonesian militant outfit as a “specially designated global terrorist” and announced financial sanctions on it and two Indonesian nationals.

“Of the various passports found, right now, [they] are being checked by the Turkish security authorities to determine if they are fake or genuine,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said in Jakarta on Tuesday night.

He said 40 people were arrested following a raid by Turkish authorities last week at a house in Izmir that was believed to be linked to the attack. Police seized scores of travel documents including some Indonesian passports, according to news reports.

“No fixed data regarding the found Indonesian passports. The data we received, there are about three or four, but I don’t have the exact number yet,” Arrmanatha told reporters. No Indonesians were arrested following the raid.

BNPT deputy head Arif Darmawan said his organization and the Indonesian embassy in Ankara were investigating the passports.

“Are they real or fake? Again, there has been no confirmation from Turkey and other countries,” Arif told BenarNews.

Specially Designated

On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department announced it was adding IS-linked Indonesian militant group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists, which bars Americans from engaging with them and freezes property in the U.S. associated with these terrorists.

Indonesian police blame JAD for an attack in Jakarta on Jan. 14, 2016, that left eight people dead, including four alleged assailants, in the first terrorist act in Indonesia claimed by Islamic State.

In addition, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control on Tuesday designated two Indonesians linked to IS as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

Treasury officials said in a statement they were taking this action against the men, whom they identified as Bachrumsyah Mennor Usman (who is better known Bahrumsyah among other aliases) and Oman Rochman (who is also known as Aman Abdurahman, among other aliases) as part of the department’s efforts to disrupt IS’s “global fundraising and support network.”

Two Australians linked with IS, Neil Christopher Prakash and Khaled Sharrouf, were also added to the list.

According to information from Treasury officials, Bahrumsyah commands an IS combat unit comprised of Southeast Asians. He also facilitates funding for IS operations, including terrorist plots back home in Indonesia, recruits for IS, and coordinates travel logistics and communications among IS members, officials said.

Last March, Bahrumsyah sent U.S. $105,000 to the leader of a cluster of terrorists known as the “Bekasi cell,” who was allegedly “contemplating attacks in Bali, as well as at an international school and at an airport in Jakarta,” the statement from the Treasury Department said.

Bahrumsyah studied under Aman Abdurahman, who has been incarcerated in Indonesia since December 2010 and was considered the “de facto leader” of all Indonesian IS supporters as of late 2015, officials said.

“As of February 2016, Rochman [Abdurahman], while incarcerated, recruited prospective militants to join ISIL and was likely communicating with ISIL leaders in Syria,” Treasury officials said, using a different acronym for IS.

“Rochman authorized terrorist attacks on January 14, 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia and issued a fatwa (decree) from prison in January 2016 encouraging Indonesian militants to join ISIL.”


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