Wanted terrorist responsible for devastating bombings . . .
Indonesia’s counterterrorism police arrested Aris Sumarsono last Thursday in the East Lampung district on Sumatra island for his involvement in the 2002 Bali bombing, which killed 202 and injured hundreds more in a club in Denpasar. Sumarsono, also known as Zulkarnaen, is also linked to the 2003 attack on the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, which killed 12 people. He is also suspected of being a military leader in Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaeda-linked Islamic extremist group active in Southeast Asia seeking to establish an Islamic state in the region.
The end of a terror era in Indonesia . . .
The U.N. Security Council added Jemaah Islamiyah to Resolution 1267 as a terrorist group linked to the Al-Qaeda or Taliban shortly after the Bali bombing. For the last 15 years, Indonesian security forces, in partnership with American and Australian forces, have been tracking and suppressing the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network by killing its leaders and bomb makers and arresting hundreds of militants. But while other high-profile terrorists linked to the Bali bombing were arrested, Zulkarnaen avoided capture and disappeared. His arrest marks the end of an era as he was the last identified leader of the Bali bombing still on the run, and it will further weaken the now mostly defunct terrorist group.
A new terrorist threat . . .
While the arrest of Zulkaren strikes a blow to the Jemaah Islamiyah, other terrorist groups have been increasingly active in Indonesia and across Southeast Asia. Islamic State-affiliated groups such as the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, or the East Indonesia Mujahideen, have been active in Indonesia in recent years. The group killed four villagers in Central Sulawesi two weeks ago in retaliation for the earlier killing of two of its members. While these groups are still relatively small and limited, experts expect them to keep recruiting radicalized individuals and to present an increasing threat to Indonesia and potentially abroad.
- Asia Times: End of a terror era in Indonesia
- The Diplomat: Indonesia arrests suspected leader of Jemaah Islamiyah
- South China Morning Post: Indonesia on alert after Isis-linked group MIT beheads farmer to ‘sow terror’