Asia - Pacific

Indonesia nabs ‘recruiter’ for Philippine terror group

Police official says Indonesian suspected of recruiting citizens to join Daesh-linked Abu Sayyaf militant group

Indonesia nabs ‘recruiter’ for Philippine terror group

By Ainur Rohmah

TUBAN, Indonesia

Indonesian police have arrested a suspected militant accused of recruiting citizens to join a Daesh-linked terror group in the Philippines’ troubled south.

A national police spokesman told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that 36-year-old Mahbub, who like many Indonesians uses one name, was arrested Monday in East Java province after police tracked his activities over two months.

"He recruited people who want to go to the southern Philippines," Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said. "We are still investigating how many people have departed."

Indonesia-based terror networks have a history of close relations with the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines’ southern Mindanao island region.

In the early 2000s, some members of Jemaah Islamiyah, an affiliate of al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia, received military training at Abu Sayyaf camps.

Among them were two accused of involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings that left 202 people dead.

On Wednesday, Amar also said that Mahbub was connected to nine other suspected militants -- who police have said belong to a new terror group -- arrested last week for allegedly planning attacks on security forces.

"They are targeting the security forces. Therefore, we raise awareness," he underlined.

He said the radical group, which is based in Sulawesi island and has pledged allegiance to Daesh, considered police as enemies hampering their missions and capturing their fellow members.

Indonesia has been cracking down on militant groups since the 2002 Bali bombings.

The country has been on alert against extremist activities since 2015, further heightening security measures after a January 2016 attack left eight people -- including four Daesh-linked suspects -- dead in the capital.

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