May 07, 2010 
Candra Malik & Farouk Arnaz

Police are investigating Abu Bakar Bashir, who was alleged to have once been 
the spiritual head of terror network Jemaah Islamiah, and his alleged links to 
the nest of terrorists training in Aceh. (Reuters Photo/Crack Palinggi)

Bashir Links to Aceh Terror Group Emerge

Tightening the net on wanted members of an armed group in Aceh, the National 
Police have revealed that they arrested 12 suspects late on Thursday - and 
seven were members of a group headed by hard-line Muslim cleric Abu Bakar 

Police said on Friday that the building in Jataipadang, South Jakarta, that the 
seven were seized  in was a base for Jemaah Anshorut Tawhid (JAT), founded by 

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Edward Aritonang added that of the other 
arrests, three were in Setu, Bekasi, east of Jakarta, and two in Central 

He said the suspects  were believed to have had roles including providing 
logistical support and financing to the armed group that clashed with security 
forces at their military training ground in rural Aceh in February.

"So they are not involved directly," Edward said, adding that their names had 
come up during the questioning of  captured members of the Aceh armed group. He 
declined to say whether JAT or Bashir were linked to the Aceh group, or to 
identify those arrested.

But a police source told the Jakarta Globe that police had been hunting for 
Mustafa, alias Abu Tholut, whom they believed acted as a bridge between Bashir 
and the Aceh terror group.

Tholut is a former regional commander of terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah, of 
which Bashir is believed to be the spiritual leader. He was also a military 
trainer at the Hudaibiyah camp in Mindanao, southern Philippines.

Bashir, in an exclusive interview with the Globe on Friday at the JAT 
headquarters near his Al Mukmin Islamic boarding school in Ngruki, Central 
Java, said he shared "an emotional closeness" with Tholut, whom he said he met 
while in prison in Jakarta. Tholut, he said, had also taught at the school, on 
the science of war.

Bashir founded JAT in2008 after resigning from the Indonesian Mujahideen 
Council, an umbrella group pushing for Shariah law in Indonesia. The cleric 
denied he had anything to do with the group in Aceh.

JAT administrator Abdurrahman said Tholut was a "non-active" JAT member.

Bashir condemned the arrests, which he said were made without warrants, and the 
sealing of the building. "We give the police 48 hours to release the arrested 
people and unseal the office so we can go about our business as usual," Bashir 
said in a press release.

He said he only knew five of the seven men seized at the JAT premises and 
believed the others were guests. "We do not know for what reason the police did 
this rash action, let alone accusing us of dealing with terrorist networks."

Bashir later told the Globe: "The real target is actually me." He claimed the 
United States and its allies had ordered the  Indonesian government "not to let 
me live peacefully in the community."

He identified the five JAT members as Andriansyah,Yanto Fadhilah, Agus, Sholeh 
and Mahali.

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