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Indonesia intensively hunts down terror suspects in 2012

Selasa, 1 Januari 2013 00:11 WIB | 1.840 Views
Indonesia intensively hunts down terror suspects in 2012
Photo Document of anti-terror special detachment-88 of Indonesian National Police (Densus 88) in Solo, Central Java. (ANTARA/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Although there were no reports of major terror attacks in Indonesia during 2012, the national police`s special anti terror squad known as Densus 88 has intensively hunted down terror suspects in several parts of the country over the past one year.

Indonesian Police Chief General Timur Pradopo said in a year-end statement in Jakarta on December 28, 2012, that Densus 88 handled a total of 14 terrorist cases with 78 suspects so far this year.

"Ten of the suspects were killed in the process of arrest and 68 went through legal process including 17 facing court of justice, two already convicted and 51 in the process of investigations," he said.

During the terror crack down in 2012, eight police officers were killed and nine others injured, including the most recent incident when an ambush by terrorists killing four police officers in Poso, Central Sulawesi, last week.

Meanwhile, over the past decade, around 800 terrorists have been apprehended in Indonesia, according to the head of prevention of Densus 88`s de-radicalization sub-division, Police Commissioner Kurnia Wijaya, in Bali.

"They include those killed during arrests. Most of those caught have been judicially processed," he said in October 2012.

He said the government was making preparations for the establishment of Communication Forum for Overcoming Terrorism (FKPT) in more provinces.

"The National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BNPT) has been striving to conduct effective communication involving all parties and build cooperation to activate activities to prevent radicalism and terrorism," Kurnia informed.

Last August 2012, Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah officially dedicated the setting up of FKPT. The governor said Aceh is a strategic area that was once used as a terrorist hideout. The mountainous region of Aceh Besar district had been used as a base for the military training of terrorists in March 2010, he added.

Bali will be the 11th province in the country to have an FKPT while the other provinces are expected to follow suit in 2013.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in October 2012 renewed calls on the importance of preventing terrorist ideology from spreading following the latest arrests of 11 terrorist suspects in the country.

"Families across the country should guard their sons and daughters and prevent them from committing terrorism as it would be them who would become victims in the crime," he said at a press conference before leaving for Britain and Laos for a working visit until November 6, 2012.

Despite the fact the Densus 88 has arrested a number of terror suspects and even killed some of their leaders, terrorist activities continued in Indonesia over the past one year, although none of them was considered a large scale.

In September 2012, a bomb allegedly prepared for a terrorist attack, incidentally exploded at a house in Depok, West Java. Three people sustained injuries from the explosion and the police arrested several suspects.

On September 1, the police shot dead two alleged terrorists during a raid in Solo, Central Java, who were suspected of being involved with terrorist network. During the encounter, Second Brigadier Suherman, a member of anti-terror police unit Densus 88, was killed.

Gen. Timur said the two alleged terrorists killed were suspected of being involved in a shooting incident at a police post in Gemblegan, on August 17, 2012.

The suspects were also linked to the grenade attack on a police post in Gladak on August 8 and the shooting death of a police officer at a police post in Singosaren on August 30 this year. Gemblegan, Gladak and Singosaren are all in Solo, Central Java.

Poso has been the focus of Densus 88 crack down lately following the killing of four police officers in December 2012 and two other officers in October 2012.

Chief of the Central Sulawesi police Brig.Gen. Dewa Parsana said police already knew the identity of all terrorist suspects in the regency of Poso.

He, however, said special way of handling is needed to deal with the violence in Poso, adding it is not the same as dealing with ordinary crimes.

Law enforcement task force has arrested 14 suspects on charge of being involved in Poso violence over the past two months. Parsana said some of the suspects have been sent to Police Headquarters in Jakarta for investigation.

The Central Sulawesi regional police command has sought an extra 200 security personnel to back up its forces in Poso because of increased security threats in the district.

One of the high profile terror suspects sentenced by the Indonesian law enforcers this year was Umar Patek, a member of the Jamaah Islamiyah who was most wanted by the US, Philippine and Indonesian governments. The US government had offered US$1 million to anyone who could catch him.

Umar was arrested by the Pakistani security forces in Abottabad on January 25, 2011 and extradited to Indonesia on August 11, 2011.

In June 2012, the West Jakarta District Court sentenced Patek alias Hisyam bin Ali Zein to 20 years in jail for his involvement in a number of terrorism crimes.

The panel of judges led by Encep Yuliardi stated the 46-year old man had among others been proven keeping information about terrorism, involved in the bombings of churches in 2000 and the bombings in Bali in 2002 that killed 192 people, ordering the use of false information and using explosives without an official permit. The sentence was lower than life in prison demanded by the prosecutors.

In order to curb religious radicalism following several terror-related incidents in the country, the government has been launching a number of de-radicalisation programmes.

Vice President Boediono when chairing a meeting titled National Program to Counter Radical Terrorism in Jakarta earlier this year, said similar programmes launched by individual institutions had been ineffective because of lack of coordination among institutions.

"This de-radicalisation blueprint will be comprehensive and will really serve the purpose," Boediono said.

National Anti-Terror Agency (BNPT) head Ansyaad Mbai, who has been tasked with the implementation of the controversial initiative, stated that the government was committed to fight terrorism.

Mbai said his office would engage with 24 government institutions, religious organizations, higher-learning institutions, and NGOs during the implementation of the programme.

The ministries, institutions and NGOs will include the religious affairs ministry, the education ministry, the sports and youth affairs ministry, the social affairs ministry, the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI), the National Police, the Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI), the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, the country`s

largest Muslim organization Nahdhlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia`s second

largest Muslim organization Muhammadiyah, and Lazuardi Biru, he added.

The government has proposed to involve civilians such as ulemas (Muslim scholars) and NGO activists during the implementation of the de-radicalisation programmes.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto said the programmes must not attach a stigma to any particular religion, because radicalism can happen in any religion.

The programmes would also focus on poverty alleviation. Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Laksono, who attended the meeting, said the programmes would address links between terrorism and poverty.

"The root of terrorism is welfare. We need to address this rather than only using security approaches," he added.

After final stage of planning, the programmes will be presented before President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for his approval so they can then be implemented in 2013.
(T.F001/B003)