Mil­i­tants hi­jack­ing char­ity funds for at­tacks: re­port

The Myanmar Times - - World -

CHAR­I­TIES that send fi­nan­cial aid to trou­ble spots some­times have the funds “hi­jacked” by mil­i­tant groups to carry out at­tacks, an in­ter­na­tional counter-ter­ror­ism meet­ing was warned yes­ter­day.

A re­port by In­done­sian and Aus­tralian au­thor­i­ties de­tailed the risk faced by non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions. It also urged coun­tries in the re­gion to co­op­er­ate more closely to halt the flow of funds from mil­i­tants, par­tic­u­larly from the Is­lamic State (IS).

“These are of­ten very le­git­i­mate or­gan­i­sa­tions who are send­ing money to trou­ble spots around the world to help civil­ians who are suf­fer­ing,” Paul Jev­tovic, head of Aus­tralia’s fi­nan­cial intelligence agency, told the meet­ing on the In­done­sian is­land of Bali.

“Un­for­tu­nately the intelligence tells us that some of these funds do not get to their in­tended des­ti­na­tion and are in fact hi­jacked by ter­ror­ist groups and used for pro­pa­ganda and/or ac­tu­ally com­mit­ting ter­ror­ist acts.”

The “un­scrupu­lous na­ture” of ter­ror cells meant that they would in­ter­cept funds in­tended for peo­ple in need and for hos­pi­tals, he added, with­out nam­ing spe­cific groups.

The warn­ing came af­ter an Is­raeli court last week charged the Gaza di­rec­tor of the World Vi­sion non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion with pass­ing mil­lions of dol­lars to the Pales­tinian Is­lamic move­ment Ha­mas and its armed wing.

The US-based Chris­tian aid or­gan­i­sa­tion has said it has “no rea­son to be­lieve” the al­le­ga­tions against Mo­hammed al-Hal­abi.

The re­port on ter­ror­ism fi­nanc­ing in South­east Asia and Aus­tralia noted two cases in Aus­tralia from the mid2000s that in­volved char­i­ties rais­ing al­most US$750,000 which was sent to for­eign-based ter­ror groups for or­gan­i­sa­tional fund­ing.

In Thai­land some non-profit groups had di­verted money to fund pro­pa­ganda in the in­sur­gency-torn south, where Mus­lim rebels seek­ing greater au­ton­omy have been wag­ing a cam­paign against the Bud­dhist­ma­jor­ity state, the re­port said.

The re­port urged coun­tries to com­bat money flowing into the re­gion to fund ter­ror at­tacks. It noted that money for a deadly at­tack in Jakarta was re­ported to have come from IS fighters in the Mid­dle East.

South­east Asian governments – no­tably in Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity In­done­sia and Malaysia – and Aus­tralia have been in­creas­ingly con­cerned by the grow­ing num­ber of cit­i­zens head­ing to the Mid­dle East to fight for IS.

The two-day counter-ter­ror­ism meet­ing be­gan yes­ter­day and was at­tended by min­is­ters from more than 20 na­tions. –

Photo: EPA

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Aus­tralian Trans­ac­tion Re­ports and Anal­y­sis Cen­tre (AUSTRAC) Paul Jev­tovic (left) talks to the me­dia dur­ing the In­ter­na­tional Meet­ing on Counter Ter­ror­ism in Nusa Dua, Bali, In­done­sia, yes­ter­day.

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