2017 Country Reports on Terrorism


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. The capability of terrorist groups to launch coordinated mass casualty attacks was assessed as low, but the intent remained high. Failed plots included attempts by terrorist groups to use low-grade radioactive material for bombs and recruit female suicide bombers. Returning foreign terrorist fighters with new operational training, skills, experience, networks, and access to funding could help launch more sophisticated attacks against Indonesian government personnel or facilities, Western targets, and other soft targets and public spaces. 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 a “soft approach” to countering violent extremism to complement “hard” law enforcement counterterrorism efforts.

2017 Terrorist Incidents: JAD targeted police throughout the year, including May 24, when two JAD suicide bombers fatally detonated pressure cooker bombs at a busy bus station in East Jakarta that killed three police officers and injured seven civilians. The police were the target of multiple other JAD-linked attacks, including a June 25 stabbing at a police post in North Sumatra that killed one police officer and injured another, and a June 30 stabbing at a mosque in Jakarta that injured two police officers.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Since 2002, Indonesia has successfully used a civilian‑law‑enforcement‑led, rule-of-law-based approach to counterterrorism. Relevant legislation includes the Law on Combating Criminal Acts of Terrorism (15/2003), the Law on Prevention and Eradication of Terrorist Financing (9/2013), and the 1951 Emergency Law; and Indonesia’s Criminal Code. An amendment to CT Law 15/2003, first proposed in February 2016, would strengthen provisions against foreign terrorist fighters by criminalizing extraterritorial fighting, preparatory acts, and material support for terrorism. In 2017, the Indonesian legislature continued to discuss edits to the draft amendment. The Indonesian government also passed legislation enabling the banning of groups that seek to undermine Indonesian national unity and also banned the non-violent, pro-caliphate group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia.

The elite police counterterrorism force, Detachment 88, leads counterterrorism operations and investigations. Law enforcement was increasingly able to detect, deter, and prevent most terrorist attacks. On August 18, police re-arrested JAD’s Aman Abdurrahman, who was due for an early release from a nine-year sentence, and charged him for his involvement in the January 14, 2016, central Jakarta attack of a police post and a U.S.-franchise coffee shop with small arms and homemade bombs. Three Indonesian citizens and a dual national Algerian‑Canadian were killed and at least 23 others were injured in the attack.

Terrorism case conviction rates were high. Sentences tended to be short, with some exceptions. Recidivist JAD member Juhanda received a life sentence for an attack on a church in East Kalimantan in November 2016. Indonesia’s first female would-be suicide bomber, Dian Yulia Novi, received a seven-and-a-half year sentence for her role in a December 2016 plot to attack the presidential palace.

Corrections officials took steps to improve terrorist prisoner management and implemented a new risk assessment and classification tool. On August 28, Indonesia designated Pasir Putih prison on the island of Nusa Kambangan in Central Java as a specialized prison for high-risk terrorist prisoners.

Border security remained a challenge for this vast archipelagic nation. Advanced Passenger Information and Passenger Name Record systems were not fully in use. Customs continued to struggle with 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. Immigration officials at major ports of entry had access to biographic and biometric domestic-only centralized databases. In November, Indonesia began systematic border screening against INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Document and nominals databases at three major airports.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Indonesia is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. Indonesia’s financial intelligence unit, the Indonesian Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK), is a member of the Egmont Group. Indonesia’s Counterterrorist Financing Law 9/2013 criminalizes money laundering and terrorist financing and authorizes terrorist asset freezing pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 1373, the UN Security Council (UNSC) ISIL (Da’esh) and al‑Qa’ida sanctions regime, and the 1988 Afghanistan/Taliban sanctions regime. In February, Indonesia issued a presidential regulation to strengthen a FATF-driven risk-based approach to limit terrorism finance within the non-profit and charity sector. The APG conducted a Mutual Evaluation Review peer assessment of Indonesia’s anti-money laundering/countering terrorist financing regime (AML/CFT) in November. Indonesia was removed from APG’s monitoring list due to progress in its AML/CFT framework in 2017.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): Government and civil society leaders promoted a moderate and tolerant practice of Islam as an alternative to terrorist teachings. They also reinforced the national ideology of Pancasila (five principles that form the philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state).

The National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) began developing a national CVE action plan. A variety of civil society organizations is active in CVE programming, but there was minimal coordination with BNPT programs.

In 2017, the process for a nationwide reorganization of the police began with the goal of a community-focused police service that can better identify the early warning signs of radicalization to violence.

The BNPT managed de-radicalization programs for terrorist convicts. In February, it opened a de-radicalization center in Sentul, south of Jakarta.

Indonesians deported from third countries for attempting to travel to Iraq and Syria were enrolled in a one-month de-radicalization program at a Ministry of Social Affairs shelter in East Jakarta. The BNPT used former terrorists for outreach campaigns and helped establish religious boarding schools for the children of former terrorists.

International and Regional Cooperation: Indonesia participated in counterterrorism efforts in several international, multilateral, and regional fora, including the United Nations, the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Indonesia remained active in the ASEAN Regional Forum Inter-Sessional Meetings on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime and the APEC Counter‑Terrorism working group. Indonesia was co-chair of the former GCTF Detention and Reintegration working group until September. Beginning in September, Indonesia and Australia co-chaired the GCTF Countering Violent Extremism working group. Indonesia formalized trilateral counterterrorism cooperation with Malaysia and the Philippines and co‑hosted a sub-regional meeting with Australia in Manado, North Sulawesi. Indonesia continued to use the Jakarta Center for Law Enforcement Cooperation as a regional training center.