AWSJ: Alleged Bomb Maker Is Linked to al Qaeda Network?
By Timothy Mapes
24/1/2002 4:08 pm Thu
[Kita siarkan rencana ini kerana ada banyak pengajarannya.
Lihatlah bagaimana hujung pangkal 'cerita' ini bermula dari
runtuhan di Afghanistan sebelum ia berjangkit ke dua buah negara
yang menjadi sekutu kuat Amerika - Filipina dan Singapura.
Sekarang 'cerita' ini sedang memasukki Malaysia tetapi hanya
orang yang ditemui tetapi barangnya tidak diketahui di mana.
Sekarang ia dikatakan berada di Pulau Batam Indonesia (STS).
Mengapa agaknya cerita ini asyik berpindah sahaja?
'Meantime, four metric tons of ammonium nitrate that the Jemaah
Islamiyah members allegedly planned to use in truck bombs to
attack U.S. targets in Singapore may now be on the Indonesian
island of Batam, Singapore's Straits Times paper reported,
citing unidentified sources.
Malaysian authorities said last week the chemicals, which were
stored in the country, had vanished. The suspects planned to
buy 17 more tons of the compound in Singapore.' - Bloomberg
The Asian Wall Street Journal
Alleged Bomb Maker for Militants Is Linked to al Qaeda Network
By TIMOTHY MAPES
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The alleged bomb maker for militants plotting
attacks on U.S. targets in Singapore studied at an Islamic school run
by Abu Bakar Baasyir, the Indonesian cleric accused by Singapore of
leading an al Qaeda-linked terrorist network in Southeast Asia.
Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi, a 30-year-old Indonesian arrested last week in
the Philippines' capital city, studied for four years at the Al-Mukmin
boarding school in Solo, on the island of Java, said Abdul Hadi, the
school's registrar, and Mohammad Zaenuri, Mr. Al-Ghozi's father.
Al-Mukmin was founded in 1974 by Mr. Abu Bakar, a 63-year-old teacher
who has campaigned to impose strict Islamic law in Indonesia. Mr. Abu
Bakar is scheduled to be questioned Thursday by Indonesian police
regarding his alleged role in the Jemaah Islamiyah, a purported
terrorist group that spans Southeast Asia and has ties to Osama bin
Laden's al Qaeda network.
Ties Among Militant Groups
Mr. Al-Ghozi's attendance at Al-Mukmin is the latest connection to
surface linking Mr. Abu Bakar to alleged Islamic radicals recently
arrested in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. His case
illustrates the complex web of ties among militant groups in Southeast
Asia and also might point to connections to West Asian counterparts,
security officials say. After graduating from Mr. Abu Bakar's school
in 1989, Mr. Al-Ghozi moved to Pakistan to continue his Islamic
studies, partially with funding through a scholarship from Al-Mukmin,
his father said.
In addition to Singapore's allegations against him, Malaysian police
want Mr. Abu Bakar for his alleged involvement in terrorist activities
there. He has repeatedly denied any connection to the terrorist
suspects detained in Malaysia and Singapore or to al Qaeda. However,
Mr. Abu Bakar has acknowledged that he is an acquaintance of another
Indonesian militant also wanted by Kuala Lumpur, Riduan Isamuddin, who
is better known as Hambali. Mr. Riduan's whereabouts aren't known.
Mr. Abu Bakar told a news conference on Wednesday that he will meet
with police Thursday to clear up the allegations against him. He
declined to respond to questions. Achmad Michdan, who leads a team of
20 lawyers defending Mr. Abu Bakar, said he needed to look into Mr.
Al-Ghozi's case further, but added that he apparently studied at
Al-Mukmin while Mr. Abu Bakar was in Malaysia.
Any questioning of Mr. Abu Bakar by Indonesian police will mark
Jakarta's first official attempt to investigate his alleged terrorist
ties, although police have had informal contact with him and his
lawyer in recent days. In the past, Indonesian police have declined to
detain or question Mr. Abu Bakar, saying they had no evidence of
wrongdoing by the cleric.
Indonesia has annoyed its neighbors by moving extremely cautiously to
investigate Indonesians allegedly involved in terrorist groups abroad.
President Megawati Sukarnoputri's government is worried that a
crackdown on domestic Islamic militant groups could trigger a
political backlash. Leaders of some mainstream Islamic organizations
have publicly warned Ms. Megawati that arresting local radicals could
have serious repercussions for her fragile coalition government.
The Singapore government says Mr. Abu Bakar leads the Jemaah
Islamiyah. Malaysian police separately have alleged that Mr. Abu
Bakar, who worked as an Islamic teacher in that country in the 1980s
and 1990s, was a key figure in a Malaysian militant group. Mr. Abu
Bakar moved to Malaysia after being jailed for several years in
Indonesia under former President Suharto's government for his
political activities there.
According to acquaintances in Indonesia, suspected bomb-maker Mr.
Al-Ghozi maintained his ties to Mr. Abu Bakar after leaving the
latter's religious school. Mr. Abdul, the Al-Mukmin school registrar,
said Mr. Al-Ghozi remained in regular contact with Mr. Abu Bakar and
another school official named Farid Ma'ruf. "The communication was by
telephone and letters. I don't know what they talked about," he said.
By contrast, Mr. Al-Ghozi cut his family ties to a minimum, refusing
to disclose his address to family members after he left Indonesia.
"The last time we saw him was when he asked permission to study
overseas in Pakistan," said his father, who is a member of the state
assembly in East Java province from the Muslim-oriented Star and
Crescent Party. "He occasionally called us just to say he was all
right and ask about us, but he always refused to give his phone number
or an address where we could contact him."
Officials close to the investigation of Mr. Al-Ghozi said he has been
cooperative with the Philippine police. They said he has confirmed
that he studied at Mr. Abu Bakar's school and that he later went to
Pakistan. A lawyer for Mr. Al-Ghozi in Manila couldn't be reached to
Philippine police said Mr. Al-Ghozi first came to the Philippines in
1996 and spent a year at the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front's
main base on the southern island of Mindanao. The MILF is an armed
Islamic movement that is contesting the Philippine government for
control of Mindanano.
Philippine officials have said that Mr. Al-Ghozi made regular trips
between the Philippines and Singapore in recent months in an alleged
attempt to transfer explosives. They have cited, in particular, a trip
he made in October as part of a plan to attack the U.S. Embassy in
Singapore. Officials said Mr. Al-Ghozi recently led them to an arms
cache in a house in the Mindanao city of General Santos.
Philippine police are investigating whether Mr. Al-Ghozi and Jemaah
Islamiyah played a role in separate strings of bombings in Indonesia
and the Philippines in recent years, in particular, a 2000
assassination attempt in Jakarta on the Philippine ambassador to
--Rin Hindryati and Jay Solomon contributed to this article.