Friday, August 7, 2009
Five facts about Islamic militant Noordin Top
-- Top, a key recruiter, strategist and financier for militant Muslim group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) has been on the run for years, eluding capture on several occasions. Some mystical Javanese believe that Top must possess magic powers or charms that protect him. Police put it down to his reluctance to use easily-tracked mobile phones and his reliance on a close network of sympathizers who guard his whereabouts and act as his couriers when he needs to send messages to his cells.
-- He is said to have planned the bomb attacks on the JW Marriott in Jakarta in 2003, on the Australian embassy in Jakarta in 2004, and in Bali in 2005 -- attacks designed to scare off foreign tourists and businesses so that militant Muslim group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) could create a caliphate across Southeast Asia.
- Top, 40, was born in Johor, southern Malaysia, and completed a bachelor of science at the University of Technology, Malaysia in 1991. He was a close ally of Azahari Husin, a Malaysian bomb-maker, who was killed during a police raid in 2005 in East Java. He is thought to have escaped a raid in Central Java in 2006 when two other alleged militants were killed.
- He is among the most-wanted of JI's members, with a bounty of 1 billion rupiah ($101,100) for anyone who can catch him dead or alive. He is widely believed to favor using bombs against Western targets, even if Indonesians and Muslims end up as collateral damage. His disagreement with other JI members over the use of violence eventually led him to form a far more violent splinter group in 2003, recruiting and training new members from other organizations for future operations.