The source of funding for an Indonesian terrorist group linked to the Islamic State has been traced to five countries including the Maldives, the Jakarta Post reported on Friday.
The Jamaah Ansharut Daulah was wired US$29,569 by 12 people with alleged ties to IS from the Maldives and four other countries between March 2016 and September 2017, a police investigation found.
The other countries were Trinidad and Tobago, Malaysia, Germany and Venezuela. The money was sent through the Western Union money transfer service to an alleged mastermind behind the JAD’s terrorist attacks.
“We are cooperating with our counterparts in several countries. The National Police’s Densus 88 anti-terror squad has also conveyed the information to embassies [of the five countries] in Indonesia,” National Police spokesman Brigader General Dedi Prasetyo was quoted as saying. The money had been used to purchase bomb-making material, he said.
The Maldives Independent is awaiting a response from the National Counter-Terrorism Centre.
JAD was placed on the United States terror list in 2012 and sanctions were imposed against its leaders.
According to the Jakarta Post, the flow of funds was uncovered following the arrest of an alleged terrorist last week in West Sumatra, who informed police that he had “obtained funds from one of JAD’s elites known as S or Daniel or Chaniago.”
S, the alleged mastermind of multiple attacks, is believed to be in Afghanistan with IS fighters.
During the past six years, dozens of Maldivians joined militant groups including the so-called Islamic State.
In July last year, a Maldivian member of IS was beheaded by a rival group in Syria. At least six Maldivians who fought with the al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front are believed to have been killed in battle.
A US-based consultancy firm estimated around 200 to 250 Maldivians have fought in Syria and Iraq but the previous government disputed the figure. Based on information from relatives of jihadi fighters, the National Counter Terrorism Centre puts the current figure at 69, excluding women and children.
In February, the NCTC said widows of Maldivian jihadis who left to fight in Syria and Iraq were seeking to return to the Maldives.
In May, Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi said the government was working on “designing and implementing a rehabilitation programme for radicalised individuals,” adding that security agencies have also been enhancing operational capabilities.
Suicide bombings in neighbouring Sri Lanka last April meanwhile prompted renewed concern over rising intolerance and extremism as well as the threat posed by jihadi fighters returning from war zones in the Middle East.