Home Asean News Southeast Asian Militant Group Jemaah Islamiyah To Be Disbanded

Southeast Asian Militant Group Jemaah Islamiyah To Be Disbanded

Jemaah Islamiyah
Jihadist flag used by Jemaah Islamiyah

Senior members of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the Southeast Asian militant network blamed for the deadly Bali bombings, have announced they are disbanding the group.

The name Jemaah Islamiyah roughly translates to “Islamic Community” in English.

JI is a transnational organisation with cells in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

This Al-Qaeda linked militant group is accused of orchestrating some of the deadliest attacks in Indonesia. This includes the 2002 bombing of Bali nightclubs that killed more than 200 people.

The group has been designated as a terrorist group by the United Nations, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States

The Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC), a think tank in Jakarta in Indonesia, confirmed the authenticity of a June 30 video statement by 16 JI leaders.

In the video, the JI leaders announced they were dissolving the extremist network.

The leaders confirmed in the video and online statement, their commitment to the Indonesian state and law.

They said that all material taught in JI-affiliated boarding schools would be in line with orthodox Islam.

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“It is too early to say what the consequences are, but the men who signed the statement have enough respect and credibility within the organisation to ensure widespread acceptance,” said Sidney Jones, who authored IPAC’s preliminary analysis.

Indonesia’s National Counter Terrorism Agency (BNPT) declined to comment on the development, but said it planned to soon hold a Press conference.

Jones said that the decision to disband the organisation may have been driven by several factors. These include the influence of intellectuals within JI who were less interested in violent jihad, and a cost-benefit analysis on the best way to protect the group’s biggest assets – its schools.

Intensive engagement with counter-terrorism officials also played a role, the report said.

IPAC noted the group has a history of splinters and it was possible one could emerge in the future.

“For the moment, the likely result is the flourishing of JI-affiliated schools and the increasing involvement in public life of the men who signed the 30 June statement,” said IPAC.

“What happens to the rest of the membership remains to be seen.”

(With Inputs From Reuters)