Overview: Indonesia applied sustained pressure to detect, disrupt, and degrade terrorist groups operating within its borders and deny them safe haven. ISIS-affiliated Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) and its offshoots continued to target police and other symbols of state authority. While not a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, the Indonesian government and Muslim civil society leaders forcefully and repeatedly denounced ISIS and actively promoted the importance of CVE efforts to complement law enforcement CT efforts. Indonesia is an active member of GCTF and co-chairs the CVE Working Group with Australia. The Indonesian, Malaysian, and Philippines’ militaries continued coordinated patrols in the Sulu and Sulawesi Seas to deter and prevent kidnapping and terrorist transit in their adjoining exclusive economic zones.
2019 Terrorist Incidents: JAD-affiliated cells and ISIS-inspired lone actors continued to target the police and other government targets:
- On March 12, the wife of a suspected terrorist detonated a bomb, killing herself and her child after refusing to surrender to police in Sibolga.
- On October 10, two ISIS-inspired attackers, a husband and wife, severely wounded Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto and a policeman in a stabbing attack in Pandeglang.
- On November 13, a 24-year old JAD cell member disguised as a motorcycle taxi driver detonated a bomb vest on the police headquarters compound in Medan, killing himself and wounding four police personnel and two civilians.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Government of Indonesia issued Regulation No. 77/2019 on the Prevention of Terrorism and Protection of Investigators, Public Prosecutors, Judges and Correctional Officers as an implementing regulation under the 2018 Law on Terrorism on November 13. The regulation tasks the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) with preventing terrorism through national preparedness and counterterrorism radicalization and de-radicalization programs. The regulation also provides protection for investigators, public prosecutors, judges, and corrections officers and their families.
From January to December, police arrested approximately 296 terror suspects and killed at least six for resisting arrest. Among those arrested was Para Wijayanto, the suspected leader of al‑Qa’ida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings and other attacks. Indonesia convicted two terror suspects; 42 remain on trial. Additionally in July, the National Police confirmed that an Indonesian couple, Rullie Rian Zeke and his wife, Ulfah Handayani Saleh, were behind the January 27 Jolo Cathedral bombing in the Philippines. The East Jakarta District Court sentenced to death JAD member Suherman on October 9, the first terrorist defendant convicted under the 2018 terrorism law, making him the fourth convicted terrorist on death row. Indonesia last executed convicted terrorists in 2008.
In July, the Indonesian military launched an elite unit – Special Operations Command – to help fight terrorism in the country.
The Government of Indonesia inaugurated a super-maximum-security prison for high-risk convicted terrorists on Nusa Kambangan Island in Central Java on August 22. The Government of Indonesia coordinated and socialized a plan to relocate selected terrorist inmates to the BNPT De-radicalization Center (Pusderad) in Sentul to provide a structured, systematic, focused, and sustainable de-radicalization program in one location.
Border security remained a challenge. The Customs and Excise Directorate General, which collects API/PNR data to screen travelers, continued to experience difficulties with passenger targeting, analysis, management systems, and high-level management turnover. Police maintained a watchlist of suspected terrorists, but lines of communication and coordination among stakeholder agencies were not always clear. Indonesia’s Immigration Directorate General uses INTERPOL databases to screen international passengers at key immigration checkpoints in airports and seaports but must rely on the Customs Excise Directorate General for access to API/PNR.
Indonesia hosted the trilateral joint exercise Indomalphi Middle Land Exercise 2019 in Tarakan, North Kalimantan, from July 29 to August 7 as a follow-up to the Sulu trilateral coordinated sea and air patrols launched in June and October 2017 under the Trilateral Cooperative Agreement. This land exercise involved 160 army soldiers from Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, as well as observers from Singapore and Brunei. The exercise aimed to improve border cooperation among the three countries in fighting terrorism and other transnational crimes in the maritime domain.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Indonesia is a member of the APG. Indonesia’s FIU, the Indonesian Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center, is a member of the Egmont Group. Indonesia acquired observer status in FATF in 2018 and is on track toward full membership by 2020. Indonesia is also a member of the Defeat ISIS Coalition’s CIFG. In 2019, Indonesia prosecuted and convicted individuals for financing terrorism.
Countering Violent Extremism: BNPT continued its work on a draft CVE national action plan for anticipated release as a presidential executive order. BNPT also managed de-radicalization programs for terrorist convicts. Indonesians deported from third countries for attempted travel to Iraq and Syria were enrolled in a one-month de-radicalization program at a rehabilitation shelter operated by the Ministry of Social Affairs in Bambu Apus, East Jakarta. BNPT used former terrorists for CVE outreach campaigns and helped establish boarding schools to educate children of former terrorists. Indonesia issued a Ministerial Joint Decree on Handling Radicalism among Civil Servants on November 12 and formed a dedicated task force to monitor, investigate, and report online behavior of civil servants accused of “radicalism.”
International and Regional Cooperation: Indonesia continued to support CT efforts in several regional and multilateral organizations, including the UN, ASEAN, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and APEC. Indonesia remained active in the ARF Inter-Sessional Meetings on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime and the APEC Counter-Terrorism Working Group. Indonesia hosted the U.S./ASEAN Workshop on Developing National Action Plans on CVE August 5-6. Indonesia continued to use the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation as a regional training center. Indonesia is a member of the GCTF and co-chairs the GCTF CVE Working Group with Australia. Indonesia hosted the GCTF’s CVE Working Group Workshop on Counter and Alternative Narratives in Jakarta on June 24-25.