Indonesia police identify Jakarta attackers and mastermind

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Afif Sunakim_Bahrun Naim
Attacker Afif Sunakim (left) and mastermind financier of the Jakarta attacks Bahrun Naim

Four of the five dead perpetrators in the January 14 bombing and shooting in Jakarta have been identified by Indonesian police. They, however, named only one so far, a man dressed in a black shirt and a blue trousers holding a weapon walking on the main Jalan MH Thamrin thoroughfare, as Afif Sunakim from Karawang, West Java.

General Badrodin Haiti, the national police chief, said Sunakim and one other attacker had both been convicted criminals. Sunakim, aged about 32, had been detained for seven years in Jakarta’s high-security prison Cipinang for attending a militant camp in Muslim Aceh province. There he reportedly got in contact with Muhammad Jibril Abdul Rahman, a member of the Indonesian radical Muslim group Jemaah Islamiah, as well as Suleiman Aman Abdurahman, one of Indonesia’s most influential jihadi ideologists and a vocal promoter of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Aman Abdurrahman is currently serving a nine-year sentence for his role supporting that military training which took place in 2010.

Meanwhile, the mastermind and financier of the Jakarta attacks is suspected to be Bahrun Naim (full name Mohammad Bahrum Naim Anggih Tamtomo), also an Indonesian extremist, who is alleged to have orchestrated them from the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria, according to Indonesian police spokesman Anton Charliyan.

Bahrun is one of several hundred Indonesians who are known to be in Syria with ISIS. Charliyan, citing Indonesia’s Information Ministry, said more than 200 ISIS-linked militants have returned to the country.

Reports said Bahrun used to work as a computer technician and ran an Internet cafe in Surakarta, Central Java. He is believed to be from Java’s northern coast town of Pekalongan and served two and a half years’ jail time until June 2012 for illegal possession of ammunition. It is understood that Bahrun left Indonesia a year ago. He is also known as a skilled computer hacker and for using encrypted messaging to communicate within his ISIS followers and sometimes even the mainstream media.

In Syria, he is believed to have become a leader of Katibah Nusantara Lil Daulah Islamiyah (Malay Archipelago Unit of the Islamic State), which is a Syrian-based military unit comprising of Southeast Asian followers of ISIS that recruits militants from Indonesia, Malaysia and other parts of the region. One goal of this unit is to spread the reach of ISIS in Southeast Asia, and it could also become a fighting force in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, terror experts at the Policy Analysis of Conflict, a Jakarta-based think-tank, warned.

Bahrun even runs a blog where last November he hinted at what was to come, writing “how easy” it was to move jihad from “guerilla warfare” in Indonesia’s jungles to a city. He explained there were more than enough ISIS supporters to “carry out an action” in Indonesia, and he was just waiting “for the right trigger.” He also stated that he wants to become head of ISIS in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, which experienced its own Muslim-related bombing in Bangkok in August last year and gets frequently shaken by a decade-old Muslim insurgency in its southern provinces, General Thawip Netniyom, Secretary-General of Thailand’s National Security Council, said that the bombings in Indonesia should be considered “a major threat to national security and a wake-up call” for all security officials in Southeast Asia to work more closely in sharing intelligence and information on ISIS.

But Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon asserted on January 15, that while ISIS terrorists are active in the region, they had not entered Thailand.

“I confirm that intelligence reports from security authorities say they have not found any evidence ISIS is active in Thailand,” the general said, but observers say this statement could be a hasty conclusion.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Attacker Afif Sunakim (left) and mastermind financier of the Jakarta attacks Bahrun Naim

Four of the five dead perpetrators in the January 14 bombing and shooting in Jakarta have been identified by Indonesian police. They, however, named only one so far, a man dressed in a black shirt and a blue trousers holding a weapon walking on the main Jalan MH Thamrin thoroughfare, as Afif Sunakim from Karawang, West Java.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Afif Sunakim_Bahrun Naim
Attacker Afif Sunakim (left) and mastermind financier of the Jakarta attacks Bahrun Naim

Four of the five dead perpetrators in the January 14 bombing and shooting in Jakarta have been identified by Indonesian police. They, however, named only one so far, a man dressed in a black shirt and a blue trousers holding a weapon walking on the main Jalan MH Thamrin thoroughfare, as Afif Sunakim from Karawang, West Java.

General Badrodin Haiti, the national police chief, said Sunakim and one other attacker had both been convicted criminals. Sunakim, aged about 32, had been detained for seven years in Jakarta’s high-security prison Cipinang for attending a militant camp in Muslim Aceh province. There he reportedly got in contact with Muhammad Jibril Abdul Rahman, a member of the Indonesian radical Muslim group Jemaah Islamiah, as well as Suleiman Aman Abdurahman, one of Indonesia’s most influential jihadi ideologists and a vocal promoter of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Aman Abdurrahman is currently serving a nine-year sentence for his role supporting that military training which took place in 2010.

Meanwhile, the mastermind and financier of the Jakarta attacks is suspected to be Bahrun Naim (full name Mohammad Bahrum Naim Anggih Tamtomo), also an Indonesian extremist, who is alleged to have orchestrated them from the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria, according to Indonesian police spokesman Anton Charliyan.

Bahrun is one of several hundred Indonesians who are known to be in Syria with ISIS. Charliyan, citing Indonesia’s Information Ministry, said more than 200 ISIS-linked militants have returned to the country.

Reports said Bahrun used to work as a computer technician and ran an Internet cafe in Surakarta, Central Java. He is believed to be from Java’s northern coast town of Pekalongan and served two and a half years’ jail time until June 2012 for illegal possession of ammunition. It is understood that Bahrun left Indonesia a year ago. He is also known as a skilled computer hacker and for using encrypted messaging to communicate within his ISIS followers and sometimes even the mainstream media.

In Syria, he is believed to have become a leader of Katibah Nusantara Lil Daulah Islamiyah (Malay Archipelago Unit of the Islamic State), which is a Syrian-based military unit comprising of Southeast Asian followers of ISIS that recruits militants from Indonesia, Malaysia and other parts of the region. One goal of this unit is to spread the reach of ISIS in Southeast Asia, and it could also become a fighting force in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, terror experts at the Policy Analysis of Conflict, a Jakarta-based think-tank, warned.

Bahrun even runs a blog where last November he hinted at what was to come, writing “how easy” it was to move jihad from “guerilla warfare” in Indonesia’s jungles to a city. He explained there were more than enough ISIS supporters to “carry out an action” in Indonesia, and he was just waiting “for the right trigger.” He also stated that he wants to become head of ISIS in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, which experienced its own Muslim-related bombing in Bangkok in August last year and gets frequently shaken by a decade-old Muslim insurgency in its southern provinces, General Thawip Netniyom, Secretary-General of Thailand’s National Security Council, said that the bombings in Indonesia should be considered “a major threat to national security and a wake-up call” for all security officials in Southeast Asia to work more closely in sharing intelligence and information on ISIS.

But Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon asserted on January 15, that while ISIS terrorists are active in the region, they had not entered Thailand.

“I confirm that intelligence reports from security authorities say they have not found any evidence ISIS is active in Thailand,” the general said, but observers say this statement could be a hasty conclusion.

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