Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Suicide Bomber Who Attacked Christian Church Identified

Pino Damayanto, 31, the suicide bomber who attacked a Christian church in Central Java, Indonesia, on September 25, was part of a West Java-based terrorist network and one of five suspects wanted in connection with a bombing in Cirebon. The detonation killed Damayanto and wounded 27 others.

Earlier today (September 27), the Indonesian National Police conducted a press conference for the media during which they stated that that Damayanto was a member of Jama’ah Anshorut Tauhid operating in Cirebon, West Java, which was also his home.

COMMENT: Jama’ah Anshorut Tauhid is led by cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, according to the International Crisis Group (http://www.crisisgroup.org). Bashir was sentenced to 15 years in prison in June for funding a terrorist training camp in Aceh province. In April, a suicide bomber attacked a mosque at a police station in Cirebon, killing himself and wounding several officers.

Indonesia is distinguished among a handful of countries that have had significant successes in the Global War on Terrorism. Specifically, the national police have had a number of major convictions against indigenous and transnational terrorist group since the Bali bombings, the first attack on the JW Marriott in Jakarta in 2003, and the 2009 bombings of the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels that killed nine people, including two terrorists. Authorities have blamed Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), an al-Qaeda-linked group, for attacks on hotels, nightclubs and embassies that claimed more than 200 lives in the past decade.

As a matter of interest, Jemaah Islamiah is a Southeast Asian militant Islamic organization which operates in Indonesia, Malaysia, the southern Philippines, Singapore and Brunei. JI was added to the United Nations 1267 Committee's list of terrorist organizations linked to al-Qaeda or the Taliban in 2002. The group began in Indonesia in the 1940s as an anti-colonialist movement, but was formally structured in its new face in 1993.

Recruiting, training, indoctrination, financial and operational links between the JI and other militant groups, such as al-Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Misuari Renegade/Breakaway Group (MRG/MBG) and the Philippine Rajah Sulaiman movement (RSM) have existed for many years. Its ties with ASG are considered to be particularly close.

JI is considered to have killed hundreds of civilians in the first Bali car bombing on October 12, 2002. In that attack, suicide bombers killed 202 people and wounded many others in two blasts. JI is also suspected of carrying out the 2003 JW Marriott hotel bombing in Jakarta, the 2004 Australian Embassy bombing in Jakarta, the 2005 Bali terrorist bombing and the 2009 JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel bombings. One of its tactical trademarks is attacking the same target more than once.

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