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Indonesian militants ‘recruiting new leaders’

Indonesia’s president said Tuesday that militant networks have been recruiting new leaders in the world’s most populous Muslim country.
/ Source: Reuters

Indonesia’s president said on Tuesday militant networks have been recruiting new leaders in the world’s most populous Muslim country.

Marking the opening of a three-day conference of Interpol Asia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono also called for greater international cooperation to combat terror threats in the region.

“I believe they are recruiting the new leaderships. ... So we have to do more in the years to come by having more effective, concrete and practical cooperation and partnership among us,” Yudhoyono said in his speech.

He said although Indonesia had made several arrests to unravel terror networks, the fight against militancy was far from over.

“We have won many battles but I have to say we have not won yet the war,” he said.

Militant groups constantly change their strategies, and police therefore must be quick to adapt their tactics and methods, Yudhoyono said.

“There (is) always something new to learn about them,” he said.

More than 270 arrested
Indonesia, which has suffered a string of bombings blamed on Islamic militants in recent years, has already arrested more than 270 people suspected of involvement in acts of terror.

Noordin M. Top, considered a mastermind of recent bombings and in charge of recruiting new people, has been called the most wanted terror suspect in Indonesia since the death of Azahari Husin.

Azahari was believed by police to have been the chief bombmaker for Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiah before he died during a shootout with police in East Java last November.

Indonesian authorities have blamed Jemaah Islamiah for a number of major bombings against Western targets in the world’s most populous Muslim country.

Top and Azahari, both from Malaysia, have been key players in most of the blasts, police say.

Attacks in Indonesia have included suicide bombings in Bali last year which killed 20 people and three bombers. In 2002, twin blasts in Bali blamed on militants killed 202 people.

In Jakarta, car bombings at a luxury Western hotel and the Australian embassy in 2003 and 2004 respectively took more than 20 lives between them.

About 85 percent of Indonesians are Muslims, most of them moderate, but there has been an increasingly vocal militant element in recent years.