Page last updated at 03:49 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Are Indonesian terror networks regrouping?

Police and medics carry the body of a suspected militant killed in a police raids in Jakarta. Photo: 9 March 2010
Indonesian President Yudhoyono confirmed the man killed was Dulmatin

By Karishma Vaswani
BBC News, Jakarta

The Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has confirmed that the man killed in a raid on the outskirts of Jakarta on Tuesday was the widely sought terror suspect Dulmatin.

He was allegedly one of the key members of the group which helped to plan and carry out the attacks in Bali in 2002, killing 202 people, mainly foreigners.

Nicknamed the "Genius of Jemaah Islamiah (JI)", he has been on Indonesia's most wanted list for years, and is thought to be one of the few members of the militant group able to assemble and explode sophisticated bombs.

The raid, which killed three militants including Dulmatin, is believed to have links to the group of alleged militants they captured last month in Aceh.

I'm not sure if this means there's a rejuvenation of terrorist networks in the country, but it is evidence that terrorism is latent
Ansyaad Mbai
Indonesia anti-terror chief

"He was the supplier of weapons and funding. He may have had even bigger roles in the group but for now that's what we have evidence for," Edward Aritonang, a spokesman for the Indonesian police told journalists.

"We have evidence of the weapons and ammunitions, and the flow of funding."

But security analysts say that while the recent killing and capturing of alleged militants across Indonesia is a sign that police are doing their job, it also shows a possible rejuvenation of terror networks in the country.

Splinter groups?

"The key question is how the people who participated in the training camp got to Aceh," says Sidney Jones, an Indonesian anti-terror expert with the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG).

Dulmatin. File photo
The US has put a $10m (7m) bounty on Dulmatin's head

"It looks like this group is a composite of people from a number of different militant groups like Jemaah Islamiah, Kompak and Darul Islam, who are frustrated with what they see as a lack of action within these groups. They're more radical, and apparently see themselves as Indonesia's al-Qaeda."

Noor Huda, an independent security analyst agrees. He thinks that the raid on the alleged militant training camp in Aceh shows that there are elements within Indonesia who are still actively pursuing terrorist activities.

"How do you build a training camp in this remote part of Aceh without the support of others in the country, without weapons, without funding?" Mr Huda told the BBC.

"This shows that there are people who provided the money, people who housed the alleged militants, local networks that ideologically support the aims of this group.

"It is not clear what their goal is, but it's clear they exist and are operating here."

This news is potentially troubling for authorities who had hoped that their efforts to stamp out terrorism in the archipelago over the last few years had been successful.

'Radical ideologies'

Indonesia's anti-terror unit has been under pressure to show results in its efforts to clamp down on militancy ever since the July bombings in 2009.

Twin bombs were exploded in two luxury hotels in the heart of Jakarta, killing nine people, including two suicide bombers, and injuring dozens more.

Indonesia map

The deadly blasts, coming after four years of relative peace and quiet, shattered the image of Indonesia as a safe nation and rocked the confidence of the international community in the country's ability to tackle terror.

Ansyaad Mbai, Indonesia's anti-terror chief, says there is no easy solution to eliminating terror cells in the country but the Aceh group does not necessarily point to a rise in militancy in Indonesia.

"I'm not sure if this means there's a rejuvenation of terrorist networks in the country, but it is evidence that terrorism is latent," he told the BBC.

"As long as radical ideology exists, terrorists will always exist. The fact remains that there are still one or more figures in local mosques that are teaching radical ideologies and support terrorist activities.

"But we have to be careful not to brand these places as institutions that support terrorism, it's just a few individuals within those institutions."

Security will be one of the key issues discussed during a planned visit by US President Barack Obama to Indonesia later in March.

America has been positioning Indonesia as a modern Muslim nation, a country that has successfully managed to tackle terror threats in the past.

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