Police in Indonesia have detained 24 individuals on suspicion that they raised funds for Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the al Qaeda-linked terrorist group behind the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings and other attacks, the National Police’s counterterrorism squad said.
The suspects were allegedly fundraising for JI via two Islamic charitable foundations, Sr. Cmdr. Aswin Siregar of the Densus 88 national counterterrorism force told a press conference on Nov. 25, adding that the terror group could raise tens of billions of rupiahs in a year to finance their activities. Syam Abadi, one of JI’s institutions, recorded an annual income of almost 15 billion rupiahs ($1.04 million), he added.
Financial reports revealed that the two institutions used as fronts for JI had raised about $2 million, although the figure could be higher, police said.
Police added that cash equivalent to $700,000 was discovered at the office of one of the foundations.
“This does not only happen here, other terror groups in the world get funding from anywhere because terror acts will not exist if there is no funding,” Aswin said.
JI has been blamed for orchestrating the 2002 Bali bombing of two nightclubs, which killed more than 200 people, including 88 Australians, in what remains Indonesia’s deadliest terror attack. The terror group also was linked to several other deadly attacks across Indonesia.
Ahmad Zain An-Najah, a senior member of Indonesia’s Islamic Council who was arrested along with two associates earlier this month, was among the 24 detained.
Ahmad worked in the Ulema Council’s commission in charge of issuing Islamic edicts, and his work at the council had nothing to do with militant activities, national police spokesperson Rusdi Hartono said.
“This institution was created to obtain funding under the cover of social and educational purposes, and part of the funds collected was used to mobilize JI,” Rusdi told a news conference on Nov. 17.
The organization operated in cities on Sumatra and Java Islands, including Jakarta, he added.
In August, police arrested dozens of suspects linked to JI and claimed the terror group was planning a fresh attack during Indonesia’s independence day celebrations.
Meanwhile, Abu Bakar Bashir, who co-founded JI, was released from prison in January after serving time for terror-related charges. Bashir, 82, was jailed in 2004 for conspiracy over the Bali bombings and released in June 2006.
He was jailed again in 2011 on a conviction of supporting militants in Aceh Province, but his 15-year sentence was cut for good behavior.
Reuters contributed to this article.