Police: E. Java Woman Arrested in Turkey Tied to IS Fighter
Surabaya. Police on Sunday confirmed that a second woman linked to an Indonesian-born Islamic State fighter was among the 16 Indonesians arrested by Turkish officials near its border with Syria.
Police earlier suspected that Ririn Andriani, 38, and her seven children were related to Abu Jandal, who is now believed to have join IS ranks in Syria. But East Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Anas Yusuf said on Sunday that Ririn was not related to Abu Jandal but another known IS fighter named Achanul Huda, originally hailing from Lamongan district in East Java.
Ririn was also traveling to Turkey with Umi Dafa, believed to be Achanul’s sister. Umi, the police general said, is also the widow of M. Hidayat, who was killed in 2013 during a counterterrorism raid in Tulungagung, East Java, by the police’s Densus 88 squad.
Suharto, the subdistrict chief of Paciran, where Ririn lived, said on Sunday that she had sold her house some two months ago. The official also said he believed that Ririn might be using the money she got from the sale to finance the trip for her, her children and Umi to Syria.
Ririn, her seven children and Umi were part of a group of 16 Indonesians arrested on the Turkey-Syria border. The other seven include an adult man, two women and four other children.
National Police Deputy Chief Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti said on Sunday that new information revealed IS was using existing recruiting channels and some individuals may be harboring or sponsoring the group before they left Turkey.
The Indonesian Embassy in Ankara is also trying to locate 16 more Indonesians who have been missing for nearly three weeks now.
The missing Indonesians have been identified as members of three extended families from Surabaya, East Java, and Solo, Central Java.
Consisting of seven men, four women, four children and an infant, the group was registered as part of a 25-member tour group organized by local travel company Smailing Tour.
However, upon arrival at Turkey’s Istanbul Ataturk Airport on Feb. 24, they immediately separated from the rest of the group, saying they planned to visit relatives and would rejoin the tour group two days later in Pamukkale, southern Turkey.
The family never appeared at the meeting point and the tour group had no choice but to return to Indonesia without them earlier this month. There are fears the missing Indonesians have already crossed the border to Syria.
A source inside the National Police told the Jakarta Globe that among the missing was Salim Muhammad Attamimi, who is believed to be related to another IS fighter, Salim Mubarok Attamimi.
The missing Indonesians earlier told immigration officials that they were performing the minor hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, a ritual known in Indonesia as “umroh.”
Legislator Saleh Partaonan Daulay suggested that travel bureaus arranging travel for Indonesians to or transiting through countries bordering IS strongholds must alert the authorities or the State Intelligence Agency (BIN).
Meanwhile, the National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI) said it was anticipating the possibility that would-be militants were among those applying for work in Middle Eastern countries.
“Particularly those from less familiar placement agencies,” BNP2TKI chief Nusron Wahid said on Saturday.
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