‘Mastermind’ denies link to Jakarta attacks?

Febriana Firdaus

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EXCLUSIVE: In an unverified recording, terror suspect Bahrun Naim denies responsibility for the Jakarta attacks

SOLO, Indonesia – A 6-second recording alleged to be of Bahrun Naim, the man believed to be behind the Jakarta attacks that left 8 dead, is circulating among extremist supporters in Solo, Central Java.

In the message, the man’s voice, said to be Naim’s, denies that he controled the Sarinah attacks from Syria. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the attacks, although Naim is believed to be fighting with the terrorist organization. (READ: 4 things you need to know about ISIS in Indonesia)

“I rarely go online. Do you think I have communication with them? That’s impossible,” said the voice on the recording that was sourced by Rappler.

The recording has yet to be verified, but members of an extremist group who know Naim in Solo recognize his voice, saying it is authentic. (READ: What we know about Bahrun Naim)

In response, Chief of National Police Gen. Badrodin Haiti said Naim should come out in public if he wishes to deny responsibility for the attacks.

“If he wants, he can come out and speak in public,” Haiti told Rappler on Sunday morning, January 17. (READ: Jakarta attacks: Did other terrorists escape?)

On Thursday, the day of the attacks, Indonesian police pinpointed Bahrun Naim as the man who organized the attacks, an Indonesian who is said to have left the country for Syria and is still based there, fighting with ISIS.

Jakarta Metropolitan police chief Tito Karnavian, who also used to head the Indonesian counterterrorism agency Densus 88, said he believes Naim’s perpetrator network is based in Raqqa, and that Naim is one of those competing for leadership of ISIS in Southeast Asia. 

But Naim’s whereabouts continues to be unknown for certain. Extremist suppporters in Solo told Rappler they do not believe Naim controlled the attacks from Syria, saying the police was wrong. 

“There are two opinions. Some say he’s in Indonesia, others say Syria,” a source in Solo told Rappler.

But other sources said Naim contacted his father using American telephone code quite recently, suggesting he may be in the United States.

Police say Naim was also in communication with at least one of those arrested in December after the police foiled a major New Year’s terror plot, as well as with other cells and individuals who were planning attacks in Indonesia.

Naim is reportedly a founding member of Katibah Nusantara, the grouping of Southeast Asian fighters in Syria. In a blog, he praised the Paris attacks, calling them “inspiring,” and encouraged Indonesians to follow suit. – Rappler.com

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