News / USA

    Indonesia Anti-Terror Chief: No New Threats Ahead of Obama Visit

    Tito Karnavian, head of Indonesia's anti-terrorism squad (2007 file photo)
    Tito Karnavian, head of Indonesia's anti-terrorism squad (2007 file photo)

    The head of Indonesia's anti-terrorism squad says no new threats have emerged against U.S. President Barack Obama during his planned visit to Indonesia this month.  

    The head of the Special Detachment 88 squad, Tito Karnavian, says there is no indication that Islamist militants have come up with plots to attack U.S. President Barack Obama during his visit to Indonesia in mid June.

    "For the current plan of visit of Obama, we have not got any new information of the plot.  But we need to pay attention and be very careful," he said.

    President Obama plans to visit Indonesia and Australia during his trip.

    He was originally scheduled to make the journey in March, but the White House delayed the visit so that President Obama could deal with the debate over health care reform at home.

    Indonesia has struggled for years with attacks by radical Islamists, including the 2002 bombing of nightclubs in Bali that killed more than 200 people.

    But the country earned praise recently for a string of raids that led to the killing or capture of key militants, including the fugitive leader, Dulmatin, in March.

    That success has largely been credited to a policy of arresting only militants directly involved in attacks and of persuading captured militants to give up violence.

    But anti-terror squad chief, Karnavian, says successes are being undermined by the ability of militants to mix within Indonesia's poorly managed prisons.  He also says Indonesia's soft approach also allows militants to freely recruit without fear of capture.

    "Recruitment is still going on.  We cannot stop it.  The ideology is still spreading.  We cannot stop it," he said. "As long as they are doing the things not violating the law, like regrouping or discussing with one another, we cannot stop it.  This is our weakness."

    President Obama lived for four years in Indonesia as a child.  During his visit, Mr. Obama says he plans to show his family his former neighborhoods.   

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