People who knew Gigih were shocked when they learnt about his involvement in these extremist groups.
Monalisa, who was a classmate of Gigih in Batam’s state polytechnic institute, described the IT student as a normal guy, and was “positive, cheerful, humble and friendly with everyone”. She was caught totally off-guard when she noticed Gigih updating his Line group chat picture.
His neighbour was also in disbelief, saying “We are shocked that a completely ordinary person like him can be like that, can be suspected of being involved in radicalism.”
This just goes to show that truly, “what people do off campus or online is another matter.”
Gigih, 31, together with five accomplices were arrested on Batam island on Friday after results from an investigation showed how much Indonesia’s Islamist militants now rely on social media. It’s alleged that a Syria-based Islamic State jihadi directed them on how to go about the attack.
“The men in Batam seem to have been radicalised over social media, specifically using Facebook, rather than directly,” said police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar.
“They have been in communication with Bahrum Naim in Syria. It looks like he sent funds and instructions to them,” he added. Bahrum Naim is a suspected mastermind of the Singapore plot who left Indonesia in 2015 to join the frontlines of Islamic State.
Police are keeping mum on what happened behind the scenes (understandably), only concluding with a very vague “Their terrorist plans were in Facebook”.
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