Indonesia is bringing the army into the fight against terrorism, authorising military officers to do everything from investigating suspected terrorists to telling radical preachers to tone down sermons.
Taking advantage of the existing military structure found even in remote villages, the army will also help in a ‘preventive’ role in the fight against terror, national Anti-Terror Agency (BNPT) chief Ansyaad Mbai said yesterday.
Among other things, the army will monitor overseas-trained clerics who return to their villages immediately, he said.
The fight against terrorism in Indonesia has so far been led by the police and a crack counter-terrorism squad. But they have increasingly been the victims of shootings and bombings themselves.
In the past two years, around 700 terrorist suspects have been arrested, with some shot dead in police raids, while the counter-terrorism squad Detachment 88 destroyed a militant training camp in Aceh province in February last year.
Brigadier-General Tito Karnavian, deputy chief of the BNPT, said ‘the third generation of terrorists is emerging’ in 14 of Indonesia’s 33 provinces.