26 October 2015
Katibah Nusantara (KN), the South-east Asia fighting unit of the Islamic State (ISIS), has continued to expand geographically within a year of its establishment. There are about 450 Indonesians and Malaysians, including children and women under fealty to ISIS in Iraq and Syria today.
KN or Majmuah Al Arkhabiliy in Arabic, started out with some 100 Indonesian and Malaysian fighters when it was formed in Shaddadi, Hasakah in Syria in September last year. It has since the middle of this year, divided into three geographical groupings: KN Central led by Bahrum Syah; Katibah Masyariq led by Salim Mubarok At-Tamimi alias Abu Jandal, based in Homs and Katibah Aleppo led by Abu Abdillah. Bahrum Syah remains amir of KN, dealing strictly with Indonesian ISIS fighters that defy or defect from KN’s instructions, to maintain unity within ISIS.
In South-east Asia, almost two dozen Indonesian extremist groups have pledged allegiance to Abu Bakar Al Baghdadi, the self-styled caliph of Islamic State. ISIS has accepted their ba’iat (oath of loyalty), as expressed in its publication Dabiq in November last year, but has yet to acknowledge Indonesia as a wilayat (province). That will require the appointment of the leadership in a particular wilayat by the caliph, where multiple groups have merged or where direct line of communication exists between ISIS and the purported leadership of a wilayat.
… V. Arianti is an Associate Research Fellow and Jasminder Singh is a Senior Analyst with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at Nanyang Technological University. This piece first appeared in RSIS Commentaries.
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Last updated on 13/11/2015