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Military: Indonesia penetrated by foreign terrorists JAKARTA - Indonesia's military chief said on Thursday that foreign terrorists were in the world's most populous Muslim nation, saying they had operated in two eastern regions hit by Muslim-Christian violence. The brief but candid comments by General Endriartono Sutarto are the clearest the government has given yet about foreign terrorist activity in Indonesia, already seen as the weak link in fighting terror in Southeast Asia.
Speaking to reporters, Sutarto gave no details on the number of foreigners involved and who they had aided. He said there was no proof they were linked to al Qaeda, blamed by Washington for the September 11, 2001 suicide attacks on the United States. But one Indonesian security source said up to 20 foreigners had been involved in the two regions stated by Sutarto -- the Moluccas islands and Poso in Central Sulawesi province.
"From a document presented by the National Intelligence Agency via parliament, (foreign terrorists) are really here," Sutarto said, without saying when the document was submitted. "They have trained, armed and conducted attacks. They're not Indonesian nationals, they're foreigners. Whether this is connected to al Qaeda can't be proven yet."
While Sutarto said the foreign terrorists were in Indonesia, he did not say if they were believed to be currently active or give a timeframe for previous actions. At least 7,000 people have been killed in Muslim-Christian clashes in the Moluccas and Poso since 1999. But the scale of violence in the two regions has subsided significantly in the past year, although both are periodically shaken by bomb attacks and shootings.
The security source also gave no timeframe for previous actions but said the foreigners included both Muslims and Christians. He said they had comprised trainers, advisers, strategic planners and tacticians. He added that one Indonesian had been involved, a Muslim cleric called Hambali. Regional officials have accused him of being a key figure in the Jemaah Islamiah terror network, which Washington is considering labelling a terrorist organisation.



Posted in Terrorism @ 26 September 2002 00:02 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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