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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        6  June 2011

Indo terrorists behind police hits

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Indonesian police said on Sunday the gunmen who shot dead two police officers in Central Sulawesi were from an extremist group founded by radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.

"All of them were indicated to be Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) members who had been training or preparing themselves to commit terror acts planned in that region," national police spokesman Anton Bachrul Alam told reporters.

"Their future plans include stealing firearms from Brimob special police force in Central Sulawesi, robbing a bank and carrying out robberies in the villages," he added.

Two men have been arrested over the attack, in which four gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on police guarding a bank in Palu district last month and two other gang members were killed in a raid in Poso district on Saturday, Alam said.

Three others are still at large, he added.

The shooting is the latest in a series of recent terror-related incidents including a Good Friday plot to blow up a Jakarta church and a book bomb campaign targeting Muslim moderates and counter-terrorism officials.

Bashir, 72, has been accused of providing funding of more than $62,000 to a terrorist group dubbed Al-Qaeda in Aceh that was plotting attacks in Indonesia, and prosecutors have sought a maximum life sentence.

Police say the JAT he founded in 2008 was a front for a new campaign of terrorism in the world's most populous Muslim-majority state.

Indonesia is struggling to deal with the threat of home-grown Islamist militants who oppose the country's secular, democratic system and want to create a caliphate across much of Southeast Asia.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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