The Jakarta Post, Jakarta/Surabaya, Saturday August 16 2014
Police have arrested several people for their alleged involvement in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Surabaya and Banyumas, Central Java. One was shot dead on Friday.
The National Police’s Densus 88 counterterrorism squad on Thursday arrested a suspected terrorist and ISIL recruiter identified as Saefuddin Umar in Surabaya, East Java.
Saefuddin, also known as Abu Fida, allegedly harbored some members of the East Mujahidin Indonesia terrorist cell led by fugitive Santoso and had knowledge about the group’s suicide bomb attack of the Poso Police complex last year.
“He harbored terrorist fugitive M. Hidayah, alias Dayah, in 2002,” National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said on Friday.
Last year, Dayah was shot dead during a Densus 88 raid in Tulungagung, East Java. He was accused of sending recruits to Santoso’s paramilitary camp in Poso, Central Java and of raising funds for terrorist acts in Medan, North Sumatra and Bali.
It is not the first time the police suspected Saefuddin’s involvement in terrorism. Back in 2004 Saefuddin was taken into police custody for allegedly harboring the late Dr. Azahari bin Husin and Noordin M. Top in 2002.
The two were believed to have masterminded the 2002 Bali bombings and the 2003 JW Marriot hotel attack in Jakarta.
Aside from the terrorism activities, the police found that Saefuddin had been actively involved in recruiting people and collecting donations for ISIL in Central and East Java.
“He is perceived as a senior ISIL figure in East Java. He spoke in some of ISIL’s declaration events in Solo (Central Java), Surabaya and Malang along with alleged terrorist Afif Abdul Majid,” Boy added, referring to the leader of radical Islamic group Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), an ISIL sympathizer who was recently arrested for his alleged terrorist activities.
According to Boy, Saefuddin often targeted university students in Surabaya to become ISIL recruits.
Meanwhile, no activity was seen to be conducted at the house of Abu Fida on Jl. Sidotopo in Surabaya following his arrest by Densus 88 on Thursday.
Mistiah, a local, said that Abu Fida’s house was always closed, except for the door of the shop selling traditional medicine that was located in the front part of the house. The owners also stayed inside the house. When a buyer came and rang the bell, Abu’s wife would come out to serve the buyer.
In Banyumas, police arrested six men and shot one of them in a raid on a rented house in the Griya Kencana Asri housing complex in Kedungwringin subdistrict, Patikraja district, Banyumas regency, Central Java on Friday.
“It happened very quickly for only about half an hour after Friday prayers,” Andre, an eye witness, said after the raid.
He said the 10 police personnel involved in the raid were all in plainclothes, but were fully armed.
Locals said the six men, aged between 30 and 40, had been living in the house for about a month. They kept to themselves and did not interact with other people in the neighborhood.
“One of them once delivered a copy of a divorce certificate to report to us, but they did not leave copies of their ID cards,” said Sakiyan, the head of the local neighboring unit, adding that they told him they were running a car rental business.
Banyumas Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Dwiyono confirmed the raid took place, but was reluctant to elaborate. “I was just informed that one was shot and died while the rest were promptly arrested,” he told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Asked whether the raid was related to the current arrests of ISIL supporters, Dwiyono said the raid might not be a terrorism or an ISIL case.
“All the personnel on duty were from Jakarta. We didn’t know. According to the information we received it was a curas (theft with violence) case,” Dwiyono said.