News / Asia

Indonesian Police Identify Local Supporters of ISIL

FILE - Militants who claim that they are ready depart to fight the war in Syria, perform martial art techniques during a show of force in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia.
FILE - Militants who claim that they are ready depart to fight the war in Syria, perform martial art techniques during a show of force in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia.
Fatiyah Wardah

Police in the Indonesian capital say they have identified several local supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) following the government’s ban on support for the militant group.

Jakarta police spokesperson, General Ronny F. Sompie, says a counterterrorism squad has been coordinating with immigration agencies to track them down.  

“We’ve  also been cooperating with Justice and Human Rights Affairs Ministry to see which laws can be applied to bring those involved with [ISIL] to justice.  Other than enforcing the law, we have launched several measures to prevent [ISIL] from growing in the country," said Sompie.

He did not disclose the alleged supporters’ identities because he said the police are in the middle of the investigation.  However, he emphasized the importance of cooperation between the Jakarta and National Police Investigations to arrest supporters of the ISIL movement because it encouraged criminal activity and posed a threat to national stability.

It is not known if any of the suspects have been taken into custody.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa says the government is doing everything it can to prevent Indonesians from joining the fight in the Middle East.

“We are taking steps to prevent Indonesian citizens from doing illegal activities in the country and abroad, especially those whose travels are aimed to support [ISIL].  We are going to coordinate with other countries and their embassies to prevent these people from traveling overseas," said Natalegawa.

According to National Police chief General Sutarman, as many as 56 Indonesians had joined ISIL, three of whom had died in the conflict.  Those identified include Muhamad al-Indonesi, an ISIL supporter featured in a recently uploaded YouTube video encouraging Indonesian Muslims to join the ISIL struggle.

In the eight-minute video, he says it is an obligation mandated by Allah for Muslims to participate in the fight in Iraq and Syria.

Officials cautioned people not to be duped by such material. Indonesia's two largest Islamic organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, have denounced the video.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Indonesian service.

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