The United States on Tuesday slapped a special terrorist designation on Indonesia's most high-profile backer of Islamic State, blocking any US assets he might have, banning dealings with him by Americans and opening the way for US law-enforcement action against him
The State Department said Santoso, a militant in Poso in central Sulawesi who has been on the run for more than three years, had been added to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT). Santoso, like many in Indonesia, goes by one name.
"As a result of this designation, all property subject to US jurisdiction in which Santoso has any interest is blocked and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Santoso," the department said in a statement.
It said Santoso was the leader of the Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT), a group already on the State Department's SDGT list, that had been responsible for numerous killings and kidnappings in Indonesia over the past few years.
"Today's action notifies the US public and the international community that Santoso is actively engaged in terrorism," the department said.
It said the SDGT designation enabled "coordinated action across the US Government and with our international partners to disrupt the activities of terrorists, including by denying them access to the U.S. financial system and enabling US law enforcement actions."