JAKARTA (JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Indonesia's anti-terrorism police, who have arrested four Chinese Uighur jihadists linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group, found that they used fake passports bought in Thailand and flew to Kuala Lumpur, before heading to Bandung in West Java.
The elite Detachment 88 police squad arrested seven suspected terrorists, including the four individuals allegedly from China's restive Xinjiang province, in the conflict-prone Poso of Central Sulawesi over the weekend.
It is alleged that the foreign nationals were planning to join a terrorist cell in Sulawesi where a number of groups and individuals, including radical cleric and convicted terrorist Abu Bakar Bashir, are known to have voiced their support and raised funds for ISIS.
An estimated 100 Indonesians are believed to be fighting under the ISIS banner in Syria and Iraq.
The Jakarta Post reported that the National Police were working to uncover the motives and backgrounds of the four foreigners, who are currently being held at the Mobile Brigade's (Brimob) detention center in Depok, West Java.
National Police chief Sutarman said on Monday that police investigators had trouble finding interpreters for them as none of the suspects, identified as Ahmed Bozoghlan, A. Basyit, A. Bayram and Azubaidan, spoke English.
"We have coordinated with the Turkish Embassy in regard to the suspects' fraudulent Turkish passports and we also asked (the embassy) to assign an interpreter. It turns out that they speak a different language. The suspects speak Uighur," General Sutarman said, referring to a Turkic language spoken by China's Uighur ethnic group.
According to Sutarman, the four purchased fake Turkish passports, priced at US$1,000 (S$1,260) each, in Thailand.
He said they took flights from Thailand to Kuala Lumpur and then to Bandung, West Java. The four took another flight to Makassar, South Sulawesi, where three Indonesian militants picked them up for a ride to Poso, he added.
Also on Monday, the police's Densus 88 counterterrorism squad searched the rented house of the foreigners in the South Palu subdistrict.
"Upon their arrival, they claimed that they came from Tojo Una-Una regency and are studying at a university in Palu," the house owner Willem said during police questioning.
Mr Willem said that the foreigners were rarely seen at home during the night.
The police detained one of the house's tenants, whose identity was withheld.
The police went on to search the house of one of the three Indonesian suspects, identified as Saipul Prianta, Yudi Chandra and Mohammad Irfan, in Lambara, Tawaili in North Palu, located about 25km from the foreigners' rented house.