1 of 6 men arrested in Batam anti-terror raids released

Mr Tegar, whom police described as a factory worker, said that he had joined a meeting of the terror cell in 2013. The 19-year-old told reporters in Batam that he was let go as he was not the "target of capture".
Mr Tegar, whom police described as a factory worker, said that he had joined a meeting of the terror cell in 2013. The 19-year-old told reporters in Batam that he was let go as he was not the "target of capture".PHOTO: FACEBOOK/TEGAR

One of the six men arrested in Batam last Friday for militant activities has been released.

Yesterday, 19-year-old Muhammad Tegar Sucianto told reporters in Batam that he was let go as he was not the "target of capture".

Mr Tegar, whom police described as a factory worker, said that he had joined a meeting of the terror cell in 2013. This, he said, was at the insistence of a friend, who was among those arrested last Friday and remains in custody.

Indonesian police said the leader of the cell, Gigih Rahmat Dewa, had planned to fire a rocket from Batam into Singapore's Marina Bay. Gigih is said to have planned this with Syria-based ISIS militant Bahrun Naim, who left Indonesia last year.

Mr Tegar said that, in 2013, he could not wait to leave the meeting of the cell, which called itself Katibah Gonggong Rebus or Boiled- Snails Cell. "I felt really awkward and uncomfortable," he said.

The men at the meeting did not know one another, said Mr Tegar, but had interacted via WhatsApp and Blackberry Messenger.

 
 

Indonesian police and analysts say that social media and mobile messaging applications have enabled new, small groups like the Batam cell to form.

But these new media forms of communication have also allowed the authorities to quash them.

Police investigations found that the members of the Batam cell had been radicalised over social media, specifically using Facebook, Reuters news agency reported.

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'Friend's extremist talk made me uneasy'

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2016, with the headline '1 of 6 men arrested in Batam released'. Print Edition | Subscribe