Indonesian anti-terror squad joins Philippines bomb probe

Philippines Interior Minister Eduardo Ano has claimed that two Indonesians, a man identified only by his alias Abu Huda and his Indonesian wife, had carried out the Jan. 27 suicide bombings on Jolo Island. (AFP)
Updated 06 February 2019

Indonesian anti-terror squad joins Philippines bomb probe

  • Analyst tells Arab News he is certain the attackers were Indonesians

JAKARTA: An Indonesian anti-terror squad has been sent to the Philippines to help identify suicide bombers who attacked a Catholic church on Jolo island, killing 22 people.
National police spokesman Insp. Gen. Muhammad Iqbal told Arab News that three members of the Detachment 88 anti-terror unit and three officials from the national counterterrorism agency (BNPT), the Foreign Ministry and the national intelligence agency (BIN) left for Manila on Tuesday.
Philippines Interior Minister Eduardo Ano had earlier claimed that two Indonesians, a man identified only by his alias Abu Huda and his Indonesian wife, had carried out the suicide bombings on Jan. 27. 
However, Indonesia’s Chief Security Minister Wiranto on Monday cautioned the Philippines against making hasty, “one-sided” claims while the investigation was underway.
“They are still determining who the attackers were. There are still a lot of possibilities. So don’t rashly judge that they were Indonesians,” Wiranto said, calling on authorities to wait for the results of the investigation.Sinyo Harry Sarundajang, Indonesia’s ambassador to the Philippines, said in a statement made available to Arab News on Tuesday that the embassy had been told by the Philippines’ Western Mindanao Command that the military had been unable to identify the attackers.

“We have asked the Philippines national police for more information,” the envoy said. “They haven’t released any DNA test results or CCTV footage from the crime scene to back the claims that Indonesian nationals were the attackers. 
“We can’t be certain that there were Indonesians involved in the bombing.”
Al Chaidar, a terrorism analyst from Universitas Malikussaleh in Aceh, told Arab News that he is certain the attackers were Indonesians, despite the government’s claims.
“The government has been denying that suicide bomb attacks carried out by a group of family members, such as the attacks in Surabaya last year, could be replicated elsewhere,” he said, referring to the deadly strikes that targeted churches and the police in the East Java capital last May. 

However, he said it is unclear if the bombers were part of the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which was behind the Surabaya attacks. The JAD, a pro-Daesh Indonesian militant group, also carried out a fatal bomb attack in central Jakarta in January 2016.

“It is also still unclear where they were radicalized. But I believe they were not from Poso and part of the Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen. It is not the group’s signature style to carry out such an attack,” Chaidar said.

The Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) is also a Daesh-linked militant group, based in Poso in Central Sulawesi province.

A number of Indonesian militants are believed to have been involved in the Marawi battle with Maute militants in 2017.
Indonesian and Filipino extremists have longstanding links, crisscrossing the porous maritime borders between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines in Indonesia’s northern Sulawesi Sea and the Philippines’ Sulu Sea.


Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan targeted by new rape complaint

Updated 25 August 2019

Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan targeted by new rape complaint

  • A woman in her 50s accused Ramadan of raping her along with a member of his staff
  • He has been charged in France with raping two women previously

PARIS: Tariq Ramadan, a leading Islamic scholar charged in France with raping two women, has also been accused of taking part in the gang rape of a journalist, French judicial sources said Sunday.
The sources confirmed reports on Europe 1 radio and in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper that a woman in her 50s had accused Ramadan, 56, of raping her along with a member of his staff when she went to interview the academic at a hotel in Lyon in May 2014.
The woman, who filed a criminal complaint in May 2019, also accused Ramadan of issuing “threats or acts of intimidation” aimed at dissuading her from reporting the alleged attack to the police, the judicial sources added.
Ramadan, a married father of four whose grandfather founded Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, was a professor at Oxford University until he was forced to take leave when rape allegations surfaced at the height of the “Me Too” movement in late 2017.
He has denied charges he raped a disabled woman in 2009 and a feminist activist in 2012.
He was taken into custody in February 2018 and held for nine months before being granted bail.
Authorities in Switzerland are also investigating him after receiving a rape complaint in that country.
His lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, refused to comment Sunday on the latest allegations against him in France.
The woman behind the latest complaint told police that Ramadan and a male assistant repeatedly raped her in Ramadan’s room at the Sofitel hotel in Lyon.
She described the alleged attack as being of “untold violence” and claimed that when she threatened to report them to the police Ramadan replied: “You don’t know how powerful I am.”
She also claimed that Ramadan had contacted her via the Messenger app in January, two months after his release from jail, saying that he wanted to make her an “offer” of a “professional nature,” without giving details.