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Preachers and revenge push terror in Indonesia JAKARTA - Basri - one of Indonesia's most wanted Islamic militants - wears a tattoo of Mickey Mouse on his wrist and drank alcohol when he was young. He jammed on Nirvana songs in a rock band. He wasn't religous and even now he struggles remembering the verses of the Quran, the holy book of Islam. As Islamic militant he is accused of beheading three Christian girls and other attacks on the island of Sulawesi, a front for Islamic militants.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Basri and four others detained with him told they were simple, uneducated men seeking revenge for relatives killed in the Muslim-Christian conflict six years ago. They say they were brainwashed by members of the Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah, which is linked to al-Qaida. "I was like buffalo with a ring though my nose," Basri told in the interview which was arranged by local police officers which were present for most of the time. "If I was pulled, I had no choice but to follow."

The story of Basri shows the complexities of the fight against terror in Indonesia, where poor education, poverty and fierce religious fighting in remote areas continue to provide new recruits for the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) network. JI is blamed for the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings and other attacks against western interests in Indonesia. It also reminds of al-Qaida's penetration of Sulawesi in 2001. It helped create generations of Indonesian Islamic hardliners who are now recruiting local people to spur up the religious fight in the area until today.

Police tells tat Basri has formally confessed taking part in the attack on three school girls late 2005. He said he beheaded one of them when they were walking to school along a path through the jungle in the area of Poso city. Basri and the others evaded arrest for ears. In that time they learned how to handle weapons and how to make bombs from skilled Jemaah Islamiyah instructors who had previously been in Afganistan or the southern Philippines to either fight or train others. The southern Philippines is another terror hotspot in Southeast Asia and is just a short boat trip away from Sulawesi.

The police actions against terrorists in Sulawesi that caught Basri also included 20 other suspected Islamic militants - arrested or killed by gunfire. Several Jemaah Islamiyah ringleaders were killed as wll. Police still warn that several more escaped and they had probably travelled to Java.

Basri confessed to the AP as well, describing the execution and the plans of it in detail. "The preachers told us it was a form of worship," he said. "They said, 'The Christians cut of the heads of Muslim girls in the war, so know it is payback time.'" Basri said he was sorry "not just from my mouth but from deep in my heart." But he joked and laughed when he described how it took just two swipes with his machete to took off the head of one of the girls.


Link to related event Related event:
Terrorism in Indonesia

Related blog entries (category 'Terrorism') Related blog entries (category 'Terrorism'):
04 February 2007 · Indonesia to be allowed access to militant Hambali
02 February 2007 · Police arrest two wanted Muslim militants
29 January 2007 · Poso violence could help Indonesia militants regroup
08 December 2006 · Bali bombers file new appeal to Indonesia court
07 December 2006 · Indonesia gives Bali bombers last chance for appeal


Posted in Terrorism @ 19 February 2007 01:54 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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