This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
The man who urged Indonesians to join the militant Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in a recent YouTube video is a wanted terrorist, the Indonesian National Police say.
The Indonesian National Police Chief Gen. Sutarman identified the man as B. and said he is a fugitive wanted for committing acts of terror. An investigator at the National Police’s anti-terrorism squad Densus 88, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday that the suspect is known as Bahrum.
“We have been looking for Bahrum. Previously he only joined terrorism [activities initiated by others] but now he shows up as the main actor in the ISIS video,” the Densus 88 source said.
The source added that Bahrum was believed to reside in South Jakarta before joining ISIS guerrillas in Iraq. In the video, which identifies him as Abu Muhammad al-Indonesi, he makes an emotional appeal to Indonesians to join the organization.
Sutarman had told the Globe on June 22 that there were at least 56 Indonesians who had joined ISIS. This information was based on data gathered as part of intelligence exchanges with countries like Syria and Australia.
According to the Jakarta Globe the National Police believe Indonesians have not traveled directly to Syria or Iraq but arrived in neighboring countries and then crossed the border illegally. Many pretended to be students or volunteer aid workers, police said, and have also taken illegal routes to get back to Indonesia.
The militant group, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in late June proclaimed a caliphate in the areas under its control. It has continued to expand its reach since then.
Sutarman said that Indonesians who have joined the radical outfit are men in their 20s and 30s who hail from various parts of the country, including East Java, Solo in Central Java, Bima in West Nusa Tenggara, Bengkulu and Lampung, but also Jakarta. The men formed small groups before pledging allegiance (baiat) to ISIS.