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4/29/03 - JEMAAH ISLAMIAH ARRESTS - 2003-04-29

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says Indonesia is striking hard at an al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah:

"Indonesia. . . finally awakened to the threat of terrorism within its own borders . . . and has arrested many of the perpetrators of the terrible Bali bombing and brought to justice the leader of one of the terrorist organizations that claimed responsibility. All of the ASEAN [ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS] and others joined us in asking the United Nations to designate that group, Jemaah Islamiah, as a terrorist organization."

Indonesian authorities recently arrested eighteen suspected members of Jemaah Islamiah, including Abu Rusdan, acting spiritual leader for the terrorist group. Another one of those arrested is Nasir Abbas, a Malaysian citizen believed to be commander of the so-called Mantiqi 3 terrorist training cell. Mantiqi 3 refers to a cell covering the Philippines, Brunei, east Malaysia, and Kalimantan and Sulawesi in Indonesia. The cell was based at Camp Abubakar, the main camp of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the southern Philippines. Philippine troops captured Camp Abubakar in 2000. The Jemaah Islamiah training cell shifted many of its activities to Indonesia.

At least three of the eighteen suspects are believed to have participated in the terrorist car bombings in Bali that killed some two hundred people in October 2002. In November 2002 Indonesian authorities captured an accused organizer of the Bali attack, Imam Samudra. Authorities also arrested the then-spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Bakar Bashir, who is currently on trial facing charges of treason.

Jemaah Islamiah seeks to impose by force a radical Islamic state on the people of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the southern Philippines. It is part of the international terrorist network led by al Qaida that threatens people everywhere. By bringing Jemaah Islamiah terrorists to justice, Indonesia is making the world safer.