News / Asia

Analysts Warn Indonesian Police Crackdown May Fuel Extremism

Members of Indonesian police anti-terror unit Special Detachment 88 move into positions as they prepare for a raid in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia, September 26, 2012.
Members of Indonesian police anti-terror unit Special Detachment 88 move into positions as they prepare for a raid in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia, September 26, 2012.
Sara Schonhardt
— Local terrorism and growing unrest in Indonesia have challenged the government to get a grip on violence. But the use of force by police has fueled anger among some extremists. If the police cannot find a way to reduce their kill rates, the military could take a greater role in securing the country.

Poso, an area in Central Sulawesi once wracked by violence between Muslims and Christians, has become the latest focus of police efforts to root out terrorism in Indonesia.

In recent months battles between security forces and suspected militants there have led to more than a dozen deaths. The conflict has also heightened fears that militants are regrouping in the remote hills that provided shelter to past terrorist movements.

In a briefing to reporters recently, one security analyst said it was very unlikely that militants have the skill or capability to launch a large-scale terror attack like those of years past. But heavy-handed action by police is fueling anger among militants that could resonate more widely, according to Sidney Jones, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group in Jakarta.

“This anger is serious and it could have serious political implications. It also could lead to rationales for giving the military a greater role in handling terrorism,” said Jones.

Jones said criticism of police operations by mainstream Muslim groups could lead to declining political support for Detachment 88, the U.S. and Australian-trained counterterrorism squad formed after the 2002 bombings on the resort island of Bali killed more than 200 people.

Trust in the police force as a whole is already low, and some analysts suspect it is part of the reasoning behind a recent presidential instruction that allows the military to assist the police in dealing with communal conflicts.

Human rights groups have called the instruction, known as an "inpres," unnecessary, and say it could lead to abuse by security forces with a history of human rights violations. Haris Azhar is a coordinator at the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence.

“No matter if there is war or not, the president is saying this is the time for the military. By this inpres the military will take more role and action,” said Azhar.

Unlike the civilian police, Detachment 88 has enjoyed high levels of public support for helping to cripple Jemaah Islamiyah, Southeast Asia’s al-Qaida offshoot responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings.

But an increasing number of deaths of suspected militants at the hands of the police has raised concerns that the force is not doing enough to capture rather than kill them. Last month Detachment 88 killed seven suspected militants in Poso. Azhar says that type of brutality is fueling the extremism police are meant to be fighting.

“Now we have two problems, terrorism and the war on terrorism itself," said Azhar. "It is very clear that the police have a very, very bad performance.”

Anger with the police first took off back in February 2010 following their break-up of a terrorist training camp in the remote hills of Aceh in North Sumatra. The discovery of the camp sparked a nationwide dragnet that led to the arrest, killing or conviction of hundreds of suspected militants.

That sweep touched nearly every jihadi group in Indonesia, says Jones, and made the police enemy number one. She says police need to find a way to reduce their kill rate and conduct more post-operation analysis. If they do not, Jones says, groups that pose little threat now could use the violence to recruit more followers.

“If you already have revenge against the police as your number one motivation, the more deaths you have at police hands is just going to give more motivation to more people to get involved in the movement,” said she said.

Indonesia has successfully prosecuted a number of militants and has executed three of the men accused of engineering the Bali blasts. Terrorism now has become a war between police and extremists.

But those extremists are less disparate than once believed, and they are starting to return fire. Since 2010 the number of police killed in terrorist operations has topped 20.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: AR Sopamena from: Indonesia
February 09, 2013 1:27 AM
This case should be handle by special troop with fully trained personnel because I am agreed with analysis statement that “Now we have two problems, terrorism and the war on terrorism itself," said Azhar. "It is very clear that the police have a very, very bad performance.” I like also that the anti terrorist are collaborated by or train by Australian to combat the subject. Please carry on and don't stop, appreciated your mission.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid