Asian Wall Street Journal today front-paged a report
headlined “New Picture Emerges of Militant Network In Southeast Asia –
Jemaah Islamiyah Aided al Qaeda, But Has Own
Agenda: Islamic State” which quoted
South East Asian security officials that Jemaah Islamiyah, an organized
network of Islamic militants with a history of violence and which had a role in
the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, has as its
chief aim the setting up of a Caliphate, or pan-Islamic state linking Indonesia,
Malaysia and the southern Muslim islands of the Philippines.
It said that from
information security officials obtained during months of investigation and
hundreds of hours of interrogating detained terrorist suspects,
the disturbing picture emerges that
Southeast Asian militants known to have worked with al Qaeda are members of a
separate, organized network – Jemaah Islamiyah.
Asian Wall Street Journal states that the implication of
this discovery is that locking up Osama bin Laden and disbanding al Qaeda
wouldn’t necessarily reduce the danger posed by Jemaah Islamiyah, which owes
much of its present form to a one-time al Qaeda operative and yet remains
independent of Osama bin Laden’s organization.
The report said:
“As previously reported by this newspaper, Jemaah
Islamiyah’s members are believed to have played key roles assisting al Qaeda
terrorists, including arranging accommodation for a visit to Malaysia in 2000 by
two of the men who hijacked the American Airline jetliner that crashed into the
“Jemaah Islamiyah’s fingerprints are also showing up in
a range of violent incidents across the region that once were thought to be
unconnected, say regional officials. These
include a Manila train bombing in December 2000 that killed 22 people, the
assassination of a Malaysian politician in November 2000, arms shipments to
Muslim militants fighting Christians in Indonesia’s Molucca Islands and a
foiled plot to blow up the U.S. and Israeli embassies in Singapore that led to
mass arrests in Singapore and Malaysia last December.”
AWSJ reports that Jemaah Islamiyah was envisaged as a stand-alone organization in Southeast Asia that would, on occasion, co-operate with al Qaeda and other Islamic groups and has three geographic divisions of responsibility referred to as Mantiqi, “a name whose meaning is unclear”.
The three Mantiqi divisions co-ordinate closely on explosives training, weapons smuggling and other business ventures to fund their activities. Mantiqi 1, which focused on peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, was led by Riduan Isamuddin, also known as Hambali, “an experienced al Qaeda foot soldier”. Mantiqi 2 focussed on Indonesia’s Java island while Mantiqi 3 administers operations in Mandanao, Sabah and Indonesia’s Sulawesi.
The AWSJ report states that Jemaah Islamiyah first flexed its muscles “as a regional power” in 1999, when it established a private army to help Muslims fighting Christians for control of the Moluccas in eastern Indonesia, recruiting Muslims from elsewhere in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. These recruits were sent to military training camps, one in the central island of Sulawesi and another in Mindanao, before being dispatched for battle in the Moluccas.
It said: “Typical of the firepower on offer was a huge cache of M-16 automatic rifles seized in early 2000 by a Malaysian marine police unit patrolling the waters of Sabah. Regional intelligence officials confirmed this previously unreported seizure of arms and say the intended recipients were Muslim groups fighting in the Moluccas.’
Jemaah Islamiyah next embarked on a more ambitious operation against the Philippine government, and three separate meetings were held in Malaysia in June 2000 by Jemaah Islamiyah leaders to plot the their attacks, which resulted:
On August 1, 2000, a bomb exploded outside the home of Manila’s ambassador to Indonesia, killing two people and severely injuring the diplomat.
On December 30, 2000, another bomb ripped through a computer train in Manila, killing 22 people.
This is a very disturbing report and DAP calls for a Government White Paper on Kumpulan Militant Malaysia (KMM), Jemaah Islamiyah, al Qaeda, Malaysia as the US-inspired regional centre against terrorism and co-operation with United States and Australia in the war against terrorism.