14 Jan 2004

Update on Counter-Terrorism Investigations in Singapore

Twelve Persons Issued Restriction Orders

Restriction Orders (ROs) under the Internal Security Act (ISA) have been issued on 10 Jan 2004 against 12 persons. Ten of them are Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) members and 2 are Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members. Under a new condition included in their ROs, these persons will be required to undergo a programme of religious counselling with a group of volunteer religious counsellors.

2 The 10 JI members are Abu Bakar Sedek bin Hashim (53), Mohammad bin Hashim (42), Mohd Ashikin bin Mohd Yusof (33), Jasmani bin Bakran (42), Zainodin bin Ismail (42), Hamim bin Jaafar (37), Omar bin Abdul Karim (40), Yusri bin Mohd Yusof (40), Mohd Yusuf bin Mohd Noor (52) and Mohd Shafiee bin Osman (41). The 2 MILF members are Abdul Ghani bin Omar (28) and Mohd Abdul Rahman bin Baharom (45). All of them are Singaporeans.

JI Activities

3 Most of the 10 JI members attended JI physical training exercises in Malaysia which included a session on how to make and use "molotov cocktails" i.e. fire-bombs. Three of them, viz Mohd Ashikin bin Mohd Yusof, Abu Bakar Sedek bin Hashim and Mohammad bin Hashim were assigned by Husaini bin Ismail (JI member at large) in Dec 2001 to look for a warehouse with good lorry-parking facilities. They did not manage to make significant headway as they were suddenly told to stop inquiries by their JI leaders following the arrests of several JI members by ISD. Their scouting for a warehouse was in connection with the rigging of truck bombs against targets in Singapore in an Al-Qaeda/JI operation directed in late 2001 by Al-Qaeda operative, Mohd Mansour Jabarah @ "Sammy" and assisted by JI bomb expert and trainer with the MILF, Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi @ Mike (deceased).

4 Several of them were involved in helping to conduct JI youth or children camps called "tamrin" between 1995 and 1998. These camps were organised by the JI's Education Unit and were used to talent-spot prospective new recruits from the unsuspecting participants and parents. One such camping activity included a visit to Sembawang Drug Rehabilitation Centre (DRC) and JI trainer Arifin bin Ali (detained) used the bus-ride during the excursion as a cover to video-film the Sembawang residential area along the route. This was an area where American service personnel were believed to live. The footage was later edited and incorporated as part of the video targetting the Yishun MRT shuttle bus service. The video-tape was conveyed to Al-Qaeda military commander, Muhd Atef @ Abu Hafs (deceased), in Afghanistan by Faiz bin Abu Bakar Bafana (detained) in 1999.

Providing Refuge to JI fugitives

5 A few of them provided refuge in their homes in Johor for JI fugitives following the Dec 2001 security operation. Jasmani bin Bakran, for instance, allowed his house in Taman Putri Wangsa, Johor to be used by Ibrahim Maidin to meet JI operatives on the run in Dec 2001. Mohd Yusuf bin Mohd Noor also provided refuge to the JI members on the run; he let them used his home in Taman Sutra, Johor as refuge from the authorities for a week in Dec 2001.

MILF Activities

6 The 2 MILF members, Abdul Ghani bin Omar and Mohd Abdul Rahman bin Baharom, were enamoured with the idea of performing jihad in Mindanao with the MILF forces. Abdul Ghani (son-in-law of Husin bin Abdul Aziz, the leading MILF member in Singapore) helped transmit funds and material to the MILF on the instruction of Husin. This included remote control accessories ordered by Husin from a local shop in Singapore which were sent to the MILF for use in connection with the development of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Mohd Abdul Rahman visited the MILF twice. He indicated his readiness to sacrifice his life for the MILF cause which he saw as a righteous "jihad" and volunteered to join in the fighting against the Philippines army in 2000. However, his offer was not taken up by the MILF commander he approached.

Persons under Orders of Detention

7 There are currently 37 persons detained under the ISA for terrorism-related activities in support of the JI and/or MILF. This includes 31 persons detained in 2 security operations in Jan 2002 and Sep 2002. The Orders of Detention (ODs) against the first group of 13 JI members arrested in Dec 2001 were recently extended by the Government for a 2-year term. The ISA Advisory Board chaired by Justice Chao Hick Tin is scheduled to sit in Feb 2004 to review their cases and hear representations by detainees directly or through their legal counsels or both.

8 Apart from the 31 persons detained in the 2 major security operations in Jan 2002 and Sep 2002, 7 other persons arrested and detained between 5 Oct 2002 and 20 Dec 2003 in the course of on-going investigations are JI members Mohd Aslam bin Yar Ali Khan, Arifin bin Ali, Muhammad Arif bin Naharudin and Muhammad Amin bin Mohd Yunos (both members of the JI's Al-Ghuraba cell in Karachi), Hosnay bin Awi, MILF member Alahuddeen bin Abdullah and Faisel bin Abdullah Abdat. Information on the detentions of all except that of Alahuddeen, Hosnay and Faisel was released publicly earlier. All except Faisel are currently in detention.

9 Hosnay, the father-in-law of JI bomb-maker, Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi, was a long-time JI member and had undergone operational training in 1999 with the MILF in Mindanao. This was to prepare him for operational activity in the future. Following the arrests of JI members by ISD in 2001/2002, he fled to Indonesia and went into hiding. He was arrested by Indonesian authorities while working in a shop owned by JI members. After serving his sentence for immigration offences, he was returned to Singapore in Nov 2003 and, thereafter, arrested and detained by ISD.

10 Alahuddeen joined the MILF through Husin bin Abdul Aziz (detained) and took his bai'ah (oath of allegiance) to the MILF leader, Hashim Salamat (deceased), in 1999/2000. He had spent 2 years and 9 months as an MILF soldier and engaged in combat against the Philippines army. In Nov 2001, he sneaked into Indonesia illegally and tried to settle down there. Subsequently, he decided to return to Singapore and made a false report with the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta that his passport was stolen. He returned to Singapore in Dec 2001 and laid low to avoid detection. He was eventually arrested and detained in Oct 2002.

11 Faisel was a sympathiser of Al-Qaeda. He was arrested by ISD and detained in Feb 2003. Investigations disclosed that he had knowingly given material support between 1999 and Jan 2002 to an Al-Qaeda collaborator. The collaborator, a foreigner of Yemeni origin, was involved in the procurement of illegal documents. Although Faisel was not directly involved in the activities of the Al-Qaeda collaborator, he was aware of his Al-Qaeda links. Faisel was subsequently released in Oct 2003 and his OD was suspended. He is currently placed under restriction conditions.

The Current Threat

12 The terrorist threat remains as long as JI terrorists intent on targetting Singapore are still at large in the region. This is despite the fact that the JI and MILF networks in Singapore have been effectively neutralised. In the longer term, the terrorist threat in the region will remain as long as JI-linked schools continue to train successive cohorts of militants who are given access to terrorist training in camps like those under the MILF in Mindanao and the Laskar-e-Tayyiba in Kashmir.

13 Singaporeans who support the operational activity of or participate in military training with the JI or MILF, even if these actions are conducted abroad, are subjects of serious security concern to the Government. It is recognised, however, that there may be some Singaporeans who may, in the past, have contributed funds to the MILF in the belief that these were meant for charitable and humanitarian causes. Likewise, it is noted that some Singaporean Muslim parents may have enrolled their children in the JI's madrasah Luqmanul Hakiem in Ulu Tiram and/or in JI-conducted youth and children camps with no knowledge that the organisers were JI operatives. On the basis of these actions alone, such persons are not assessed as members of the MILF or the JI. Thirty persons who had such links but whose involvement was marginal were warned not to continue their association or links with JI or MILF elements.

14 January 2004
Last Updated on 19 Jun 2015
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