Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Two Senior JI Members Detained 12 Oct 2012
Two senior JI members detained
Home Affairs Ministry says the men were involved in scouting potential targets for terror hit
by Amir Hussain
04:45 AM Oct 12, 2012
SINGAPORE - Two senior members of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist organisation, who had scouted targets for a terrorist attack here, have been detained under the Internal Security Act.
Their detention was announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) yesterday, a day before the 10th anniversary of the Bali bombings.
The duo, Abd Rahim Abdul Rahman and Husaini Ismail, fled Singapore in December 2001 after security operations to nab organisation members began.
The men, who had undergone training in Afghanistan with the Al Qaeda terrorist organisation between 1999 and 2000, were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in March and June, respectively.
In its statement, MHA said the men had been "actively involved in reconnoitring several potential local and foreign targets in Singapore for the purpose of a terrorist attack".
Husaini was involved in the plot, led by Singapore JI leader Mas Selamat Kastari, to hijack an aircraft and crash it into Changi Airport in January 2002 in retaliation for the authorities' disruption of the local JI network.
Abd Rahim was arrested in Malaysia in February this year and deported to Singapore, while Husaini was arrested in Indonesia in June 2009 for immigration offences and deported to Singapore after completing his jail term there in May.
The MHA said two other JI members, Rijal Yahdri Jumari and Mohd Jauhari Adbullah, and a self-radicalised individual, Muhammad Fadil Abdul Hamid, were released from detention and put on Restriction Orders between March and September this year.
Rijal was a member of the JI's "Al Ghuraba" cell in Pakistan, which groomed young JI members to be operatives and future JI leaders. He was detained under the ISA in March 2008. Jauhari was a senior JI member who was detained in September 2002, in the second phase of JI arrests here, while Fadil was a self-radicalised youth who was detained in April 2010.
Fadil, who was a full-time national serviceman when he was arrested, wanted to "wage armed jihad in Afghanistan and die as a matyr on the battlefield", the MHA statement said.
Restriction Orders against 18 individuals - one Moro Islamic Liberation Front member and 17 JI members - were allowed to lapse, added the MHA yesterday.
Associate Professor Kumar Ramakrishna, Head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), said the security sweeps in late 2001 and 2002 had "essentially decimated the main JI threat to Singapore".
Still, he cautioned: "JI will never be finished as long as the extremist ideology that sustains extremist networks like JI continues to be in circulation."
Meanwhile, Professor Rohan Gunaratna, Head of the RSIS' International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, felt that "terrorism remains the tier one national security threat to Singapore".
"Regionally, the terrorist and the extremist threat has not declined; (terrorism) remains a significant threat to the region ... There are many terrorist groups active in Indonesia, and still pose a threat to Singapore", Prof Gunaratna said.
Both analysts also cautioned against the threat of self-radicalisation taking root here. "If you do not do enough to diminish the underlying conditions that give rise to the extremist networks in the first place, you will always have the physical threat. So you need to approach the problem at two levels - the physical level and, very importantly, the ideological level," said Assoc Prof Kuma