Indonesian police say no valid proof so far of death of ISIS fighter Bahrun Naim

A group of mobile brigade policemen patrolling near the Mobile Police Brigade headquarters in Depok, south of Jakarta, Indonesia, on May 9, 2018.
A group of mobile brigade policemen patrolling near the Mobile Police Brigade headquarters in Depok, south of Jakarta, Indonesia, on May 9, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - Indonesian police said there has been no valid proof confirming the death of Bahrun Naim, one of the country's most notorious militants who was reported to be fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the Middle East.

Verification of his death requires "valid evidence", national police spokesman, Inspector General Setyo Wasisto, said in a mobile message reply to The Straits Times on Thursday morning (July 5). "I cannot comment if there is not yet any accurate data," he added.

His comments were made after a Channel NewsAsia report, citing a regional security source, said on Wednesday that the ISIS senior member had been killed in a drone strike in Syria.

The CNA report said Bahrun, 34, was killed by a United States drone before the Muslim's fasting month of Ramadan, which started in mid-May this year.

Bahrun's reported death follows online chatter late last year that he had been killed in Syria. Internet chatgroups known to be used by extremists were abuzz with talk that the Indonesian militant had died while fighting for ISIS.

But his death was never confirmed by the police despite efforts to verify it.

Bahrun, who had a role in the 2016 Jakarta attacks that killed four bystanders, was said to have helped coordinate attacks in Indonesia from Raqqa, Syria, via Telegram, a smartphone messaging app.

He was also said to have transferred money to his comrades back home to fund terrorist activities. He had reportedly taught terror cells back in Indonesia to make bombs and mount attacks , sending instructions using Telegram, Indonesian police have earlier said.

One of his cells had plans to attack the Istana Merdeka presidential palace in Jakarta with a female suicide bomber, but the plot was foiled in December 2016.

Bahrun was also said to have had contacts with Gigih Rahmat Dewa, the leader of the Batam terrorist cell accused of planning an attack on Marina Bay in Singapore.