Jakarta – A military-style training programme allegedly carried out by a hardline group at a tourist resort in Central Java has caused the police enough concern for them to launch an investigation even though the training has stopped.
The training, which involved 24 civilians and took place in a forest and plantation area in Kopeng, near Salatiga, was detected by intelligence officers a few days ago. The training activities were allegedly organised by the Indonesian Mujahidin Council (MMI), which is chaired by Abu Bakar Bashir.
The radical cleric has been accused by several foreign governments of being the head of the regional terrorist network, Jemaah Islamiah. An Indonesian court recently sentenced him to four years in prison for his link to the Bali and the JW Marriott Hotel bombings in 2002 and 2003 respectively.
Central Java police chief, Insp-Gen Chaerul Rasyid, said a thorough investigation of the training which lasted for several weeks was needed to prevent disturbances to local security and political stability.
"Although they (training participants) have already left, we have not identified the goal of the training. We need to know whether it was intended for state defence or other purposes. If it was conducted for state defence, there is no problem. But if it was intended for other purposes that could cause unrest among the locals, we will take action," he said on April 25.
MMI was quick to deny the allegation, saying it had no military-style trainings since it had been concentrating on sending volunteers to tsunami-devastated Aceh.
If there were military-style training activities in the mountainous area, they were not conducted by the group, said Mr Wahyudin, an MMI executive.
* Military-style training probed (The Jakarta Post, April 26)