Jakarta. An Islamic State militant who was recently killed in a failed suicide attack in Syria was not leading Indonesian militant Bahrumsyah as earlier reported, a Jakarta-based terrorism expert said on Friday (17/03).
Reports recently circulated that Bahrumsyah, also known as Abu Muhammad al-Indunisy, was killed in Palmyra on Monday. His car bomb, which was heading toward Syrian soldiers, reportedly exploded before he was able to reach his intended target.
But Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) director Sidney Jones dismissed the reports, saying the failed suicide bomber was in fact an Uzbekistan national.
Citing a report she received from an Islamic State source in Syria, she said, "It wasn't Bahrumsyah. The man killed wasn't even from Indonesia. He was from Uzbekistan, according to ISIS."
"So as far as we know, Bahrumsyah is alive and well," Jones told the Jakarta Globe on Friday (17/03).
Indonesian media as well as the Middle Eastern-based media outlet Al-Masdar News redistributed the report about Bahrumsyah's death based on a press release by the Islamic State official media outlet, Amaq News Agency.
But the clarifying report Jones obtained made clear that there was a mistake in the writing of the name in the news release. The killed militant's name was actually Abu Muhammad Uzbekistan, not Abu Muhammad al-Indunisy.
"The news was false. He is still fresh and healthy," the report said.
Bahrumsyah, who purportedly traveled to Syria in May 2014, leads an Indonesian-Malaysian unit of Islamic State known as Katibah Nusantara, which also aims to establish a chapter of the so-called caliphate in Southeast Asia.
He appeared in a YouTube video that year, appealing to militants in Indonesia to join the ranks of Islamic State.
Bahrumsyah, who was previously a communications student at Jakarta State Islamic University (UIN) Syarief Hidayatullah, has also encouraged militants to launch attacks on Indonesian soil.
He is believed to have contacts across Southeast Asia, according to an IPAC report released in Feb. 2016. "Bahrumsyah is the Indonesian with the best access to central ISIS leaders and funds."