Jemaah Islamiah

Ulu Tiram, a Jemaah Islamiah playground

KUALA LUMPUR: Ulu Tiram, some 20km from Johor Baru, has long been a familiar place for Jemaah Islamiah (JI) leaders and fighters.

The movement’s Indonesian founder Abu Bakar Bashir and his compatriot Abdullah Sungkar even established a madrasah in Ulu Tiram (Luqmanul Hakim), according to various reports.

Abdullah died in 1993 while Abu Bakar was jailed for two and a half years in 2005 over the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people. He was freed after 15 months.

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In 2011, he was jailed 15 years for supporting a jihadi training camp. He was released in January, 2021.

JI operative Noordin Mohammad Top, once known as Asia’s most wanted terrorist, attended the madrasah along with another militant Mukhlas who was also part of the 2002 Bali bombings.

Noordin, 41, was killed by Indonesian security forces on Sept 17, 2009, while Mukhlas was executed by Indonesian authorities in 2008, after he was found guilty for his part in the Bali bombings.

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He, too, had started a madrasah in Indonesia and brought in religious teachers from Indonesia to Ulu Tiram.

The Ulu Tiram madrasah was shut down in the early 2000s.

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Indonesian terrorist Hambali reportedly met his wife Noralwizah Lee Abdullah @ Lee Yin Len at the same madrasah.

Hambali, and his two alleged Malaysian partners Mohamed Farik Amin and Mohamed Nazir Lep, are still being held in the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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They are classified as “high value detainees” and of “high-risk threat to the United States and its allies.”

Hambali, who is also known as Encep Nurjaman and Riduan Isamuddin, was a permanent resident in Malaysia.

He was said to be a key Al-Qaeda leader in South-East Asia, and the two Malaysians were personally recruited by him for a suicide attack in the United States, which was later aborted.

The charges against the trio centre on two terrorist attacks in Indonesia, where US citizens were among the casualties.

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