Indonesia confirms 5 citizens linked to funding IS efforts to recruit teens

Kusumasari Ayuningtyas
Klaten, Indonesia
Indonesia confirms 5 citizens linked to funding IS efforts to recruit teens An Indonesian family who escaped from the Islamic State group in Raqqa gather inside their tent at a refugee camp in Ain Issa, Syria, July 24, 2017.

Five Indonesian nationals who had their assets frozen by the United States are suspected of being involved in financing the Islamic State militant group’s efforts to recruit teens to fight in Syria and other countries, Indonesia’s counter-terrorism agency confirmed Tuesday.

Two of the suspects are in Indonesia while the other three are at Camp al-Hol in Syria near the Turkish border, the BNPT agency said. On Monday, the U.S. Treasury Department named five Indonesian suspects, saying the United States had frozen their U.S. assets and was prohibiting people from engaging in certain transactions with them.

“The five individuals … have played a key role in facilitating the travel of extremists to Syria and other areas where ISIS operates,” the U.S. Treasury Department said in a news release, using a different acronym for Islamic State (IS).

The Treasury identified the five as Dwi Dahlia Susanti, Rudi Heryadi, Ari Kardian, Muhammad Dandi Adhiguna and Dini Ramadhani.

“By designating them, we aim to expose and disrupt an international ISIS facilitation network that has financed ISIS recruitment, including of vulnerable children in Syria,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a separate statement.

In Jakarta, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Nurwahid, the BNPT’s director of prevention, confirmed that the five were foreign terrorist fighters, the term for people who join militant groups abroad. Nurwahid declined to disclose how much money the five had allegedly raised to support the IS.

“We can’t reveal the figures because it’s part of the investigation,” Nurwahid told BenarNews. “Furthermore, the government, in this case, BNPT, will follow up in accordance with the existing authorities and powers based on the law.”

The U.S. government identified Susanti as an IS financial facilitator since at least 2017, saying she assisted members of the militant group with money transfers involving individuals in Indonesia, Turkey, and Syria. It said Susanti had helped her unnamed husband deliver nearly U.S. $4,000 and weapons to an IS leader in 2017.

As of early 2021, Susanti has facilitated money transfers from Indonesia to Syria to provide funds to some people in displaced persons camps, according to the Treasury. In some cases, it said, these funds were used to smuggle teens out of the camps to the desert where IS foreign fighters received them.

Susanti, Ramadhani and Adhiguna are at the al-Hol camp on Syria’s border with Turkey, according to BNPT.

Densus 88

Heryadi was deported from Turkey on Sept. 27, 2019, and had been sentenced to three years and six months before being released on parole on Monday, the same day the U.S. announced its sanctions, according to BNPT. Kardian, who was arrested in 2016 on charges linked to efforts to assist Indonesians traveling to Syria to join IS, has been released from custody as well.

Gen. Dedi Prasetyo, the spokesman for the Indonesian national police, said the counter-terrorism unit Densus 88 had been monitoring the suspects.

“We will be in contact with the NCB-Interpol to find those who are allegedly abroad, as well as with the Interpol in the countries where they are allegedly located,” Dedi told BenarNews, referring to the National Central Bureau, which links police to the global Interpol network.

Al Chaidar Abdurrahman Puteh, a terrorism analyst at Malikussaleh University, confirmed the allegations.

“Dini Ramadhani and Dwi Dahlia Susanti were in and out of Turkey and Syria to take ISIS children from the Deir Al-Azur and al-Hol camps,” Al Chaidar told BenarNews.

Meanwhile, Dyah Ayu Kartika, an analyst with the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC), said the U.S. government had issued statements that essentially barred its citizens from carrying out transactions with those aiding the IS and other militant groups.

“For individuals, it’s actually quite rare, so we are still investigating these five names,” Dyah told BenarNews.

She noted that the World Human Care, an NGO formed by the Indonesian Mujahidin Council, was sanctioned in February 2021 for allegedly funding militants in Syria under the guise of humanitarian aid. Luki Abdul Hayyi, secretary general of the NGO, rejected the U.S. allegations.

In a recent report, IPAC said many Indonesians on global terrorism lists, in particular the U.S. Treasury list, automatically get a similar designation from the United Nations. Still, the lists are perpetually out of date, leaving out some of the most notorious terrorists while including people who were never involved in violence, the report alleged.

“This may be in part because of the bureaucratic procedures involved in placing new names on the list (let alone removing old ones), but also because enforcing sanctions against those listed could complicate government efforts at rehabilitation and reintegration,” the report said.


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