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Suspected Indonesian militant arrested in Brunei

February 27, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Security agents in Brunei have arrested an Indonesian man who attended an Afghan militant training camp in the 1990s on suspicion of militant activities inside the country, authorities said Thursday.

The man, identified as Awaluddin Sitorius, was detained Feb. 21, Brunei’s internal security department said in a statement.

It said he was once arrested in connection with a church bombing in Indonesia in 2000. Media reports from Indonesia at the time said he was later released after judges ruled there was not enough evidence to convict him.

The statement said Sitorius had admitted to being a member of Jemaah Islamiyah, a one-time clandestine Indonesian extremist organization dedicated to establishing an Islamic state in Muslim-majority parts of Southeast Asia. Some of its members carried out a series of bombings in the 2000s in Indonesia.

Like Sitorius, many Jemaah Islamiyah leaders trained in camps in Afghanistan in the 1990s alongside al-Qaida groups.

The statement said that in early 2013, Sitorius facilitated the entry of a “suspicious” individual into Brunei, but didn’t say whether he was planning any violence or what evidence it had against him. Brunei’s internal security act allows suspects to be held without trial or access to a lawyer for renewable two-year periods.

Around 100 Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean Muslims trained in Afghanistan in the 1990s, a minority of whom returned set on implementing al-Qaida’s vision in Southeast Asia. A security crackdown since 2000 has led to scores of arrests in Indonesia and elsewhere in the region, significantly reducing the threat of more mass casualty attacks against civilian targets.

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