The Southeast Asian terror group
Jemaah Islamiyah has suffered another blow. A captured member has admitted that
he was the financier behind one of the group's most important training camps
and has started naming the trainees.
Taufik Rifki was arrested in the southern Philippines earlier this month.
He is admitting he was the treasurer who disbursed funds for the terrorist
group Jemaah Islamiyah, or JI, training camp in the area and is giving police
the names of more than a dozen men who underwent training there.
JI is linked to al-Qaida and is believed to operate with a similar cell-like
structure, which limits the damage any one member can do if captured and persuaded
to talk. But the arrest of Taufik Rifki could be a gold mine for investigators
because he could name a whole generation of JI recruits who passed through
Investigators say Jemaah Islamiyah is behind a string of attacks across Southeast
Asia, including the Bali bomb that killed more than 200 people. They allege
the group laid unsuccessful plans to hit U.S. targets in Singapore and Malaysia.
The group once attended training camps in Afghanistan, but those were closed
in the 1990s. Since then, most training has been done in the southern provinces
of the Philippines, where militants that are part of a long-running Muslim
separatist insurgency share many JI ideals.
More than 200 suspected members of JI have been arrested in Asia in the past
two years, but experts say the group is showing unexpected resilience.
JI is believed to have an extensive network of supporters who hide and assist
active members. Three of the region's most wanted men, JI 's military leader
Zulkarnaen, bomb maker Dr. Azahari Husin, and financier Nurdin Mohammed Top,
have evaded arrest for more than a year in spite of a massive manhunt by Indonesian
Despite notable successes, police throughout the region are warning that
JI is planning more attacks and few observers believe the group will be beaten