Overview: Indonesia uses a civilian law enforcement led, rule-of-law-based approach in its domestic counterterrorism operations. Since the Bali bombings in 2002, Indonesia has applied sustained pressure to degrade the capabilities of terrorists and their networks operating within Indonesia’s borders. Several small-scale attacks or attempted attacks by pro-ISIS extremists occurred throughout 2016 in different parts of Indonesia. Police continued to detect and disrupt multiple plots and cells, including a plot to bomb the presidential palace in December that was linked to a prominent Indonesian terrorist fighting with ISIS, Bahrun Naim.
Indonesian violent extremists continued to use websites, social media, and private messaging to spread their radical ideology, raise funds, recruit, and communicate with new followers. Additionally, there was growing concern that Indonesian foreign terrorist fighters could return from Syria and Iraq with operational training, skills, and experience, and therefore conduct more sophisticated attacks against Indonesian government personnel or facilities, western targets, and other soft targets.
As of December, amendments to strengthen Indonesia’s 2003 counterterrorism law, which would strengthen provisions against foreign terrorist fighters by criminalizing extraterritorial fighting, preparatory acts, and material support for terrorism, had not passed the Indonesian legislature. Indonesia is not a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, but the Indonesian government and Muslim civil society leaders have forcefully and repeatedly denounced the group. Official estimates on the number of Indonesian foreign terrorist fighters vary between agencies and services. At least 800 Indonesians departed for Iraq and Syria since the beginning of the conflict, including women and children. In August, officials said that 568 Indonesians remained in Iraq and Syria, 69 had died in the conflict zone, and 183 had returned to Indonesia. The number of returnees includes Indonesians who were deported by authorities in transit countries while traveling to the Middle East. Foreign terrorist fighters may also return undetected by exploiting vulnerabilities in the land and sea borders of this vast archipelagic nation.
A prominent Indonesian terrorist fighting with ISIS, Mubarak Salim (aka Abu Jandal Attamimi), was reportedly killed in Mosul, Iraq, in November, although police have yet to independently verify his death.
Indonesian officials describe the pro-ISIS Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) and its network as the most dangerous terrorist organization in Indonesia because of its international and regional connections. A joint police-military operation killed Abu Wardah (aka Santoso), the leader of the pro-ISIS Mujahidin Indonesia Timur, on July 18, and captured his deputy, Mohammad Basri (aka Bagong), on September 14. The operation continued to pursue less than 20 remaining members in the remote, mountainous area around Poso, Central Sulawesi.
2016 Terrorist Incidents: There were five small-scale attacks throughout Indonesia:
- On January 14, four men attacked a police post and a U.S.-franchise coffee shop with small arms and homemade bombs in central Jakarta. Three Indonesian citizens and a dual national Algerian-Canadian were killed and at least 23 others were injured. All four attackers were killed in the confrontation with police and multiple arrests were made following the incident. Incarcerated JAD leader Aman Abdurahman is believed to have planned the attack with assistance from incarcerated 2004 Australian Embassy bomber Iwan Darmawan (aka Rois) and Syria-based Indonesian ISIS fighter Abu Jandal.
- On July 5, Nur Rohman, a suicide bomber with links to JAD, attacked a police station in Solo, Central Java, killing himself and wounding a police officer. The attack took place on the last day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
- On August 27, a 17-year-old attacked a Catholic priest with a knife, causing minor injuries, after failing to detonate a homemade bomb in a church in Medan, North Sumatra. Police arrested the attacker, who was radicalized online and sympathized with ISIS.
- On October 20, Sultan Azianzah attacked three policemen with a knife, injuring one severely, in Tangerang, West Java. Police shot and killed Azianzah, who was linked to JAD, during the attack.
- On November 13, former terrorist prisoner Johanda threw Molotov cocktails at the Oikumene Church in Sengkotek, Samarinda, East Kalimantan, severely injuring four children and damaging several motorcycles. One of the victims, a two-year-old girl, later died from severe burns sustained during the attack. Police arrested Johanda, who was part of a JAD cell.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Indonesia follows a rule-of-law-based counterterrorism approach. After investigation by the police, terrorist suspects’ dossiers are sent to the Task Force on Counterterrorism and Transnational Crimes, part of the Attorney General’s Office, for prosecution. Relevant legislation includes the Law on Combating Criminal Acts of Terrorism (15/2003), the Law on Prevention and Eradication of Anti-Terrorist Financing (9/2013), the 1951 Emergency Law, and Indonesia’s Criminal Code.
Counterterrorism efforts are police led, with Detachment 88 – the elite counterterrorism force of the police – leading operations and investigations. The president may authorize counterterrorism units from the Indonesian military to support domestic counterterrorism operations on an as-needed basis. Law enforcement units are increasingly able to detect, deter, and prevent most attacks before they are carried out. Law enforcement personnel participated in a range of U.S.-funded training and professional development activities, to build sustainable police capacity in both investigative and tactical skills. These programs were implemented by the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) International Criminal Investigative Training and Assistance Program, and DOJ’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training Program. Frequent personnel rotation at various agencies, including the police, legal cadres, and the judiciary, constrained the development of long-term institutional expertise.
Indonesia recognizes the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, but it has yet to pass laws explicitly criminalizing material support, travel to join foreign terrorist organizations, or commission of extraterritorial offenses related to terrorism. On February 15, the president submitted to the Indonesian legislature a draft amendment to Law 15/2003 to address these legal gaps. As of December, the amendment was being debated and had not passed the legislature.
Indonesian prosecutors stated that between January and November they prosecuted, or were in the process of prosecuting, 104 terrorism-related cases. Of those, 23 cases are related to ISIS activity, including eight related to the January 14 attack. In November, a key facilitator in the attack, Saiful Muhtorir (aka Abu Gar), was sentenced to nine years in prison. Two bomb-makers were sentenced to 10 years in prison, and a facilitator who helped to procure small arms was sentenced to four years in prison. In August, the Supreme Court rejected a judicial case review filed in 2015 by incarcerated terrorist ideologue and founder of Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, Abu Bakar Ba’asyir.
As of early December, there were 241 terrorist prisoners in 71 correctional facilities throughout Indonesia. An estimated 150 terrorist suspects were held in police pre-trial detention facilities. Terrorists convicted on non-terrorism charges are not always counted or tracked through the justice system as convicted terrorists, creating a potential loophole in disengagement and de-radicalization efforts. There is a lack of effective risk assessment, classification, and management of terrorist prisoners, although prison authorities recognized and worked to address this systemic challenge. In February, authorities isolated some convicted terrorist ideologues implicated in plotting attacks. Authorities remained concerned about the potential recidivism of released terrorist prisoners.
The National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) is responsible for coordinating terrorism-related intelligence and information among stakeholder agencies. BNPT is staffed by detailees from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Indonesian military, and the Indonesian National Police. Immigration officials at major ports of entry, especially larger international air and seaports, have access to biographic and biometric domestic-only databases, but there was no centralized border screening system. Police maintained a watchlist of suspected terrorists, but there were not always clear lines of communication and coordination among stakeholder agencies. Indonesia shares information through INTERPOL and is developing systems to enhance border screening at major ports of entry using INTERPOL data. Military and police personnel are often posted at major ports of entry to ensure security.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Indonesia is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, 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 of Financial Intelligence Units. Indonesia’s Counterterrorist financing Law 9/2013 criminalizes money laundering and terrorist financing, and authorized terrorist asset freezing pursuant to UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1373 and the UN Security Council (UNSC) ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime and (Taliban) Sanctions Committees’ lists. The implementation process requires Indonesia issue court orders of listed individuals and entities and subsequent freeze orders to be able to freeze the assets of UNSC ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida-listed individuals and entities. Indonesia instituted and continued to improve upon an electronic process designed to ensure that the orders requiring multiagency action is issued without delay and identified assets are frozen immediately. It is unclear if Indonesia has been consistently implementing UNSCR 1267, which require all freezes to be subject to a yearly renewal by the authorities.
For the second consecutive year, Indonesia and Australia co-hosted the Counterterrorist Financing (CTF) Summit in Bali in August, attended by more than 200 specialists from more than 20 countries. Indonesia and Australia also co-led the publication of the first Regional Risk Assessment on Terrorist financing, which was released during the summit.
Non-profit organizations (NPOs) such as religious and charitable organizations are licensed and required to file suspicious transaction reports. PPATK conducted an NPO-sector risk assessment and proposed a presidential regulation to require monitoring and the regulation of NPOs to prevent terrorist finance exploitation. As of December, the president had not signed the new regulation. In accordance with FATF recommendations, Indonesia should take a risk-based approach to monitor the high-risk NPOs rather than imposing the same requirements on the entire NPO sector.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2017 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: The Indonesian government has not developed a national countering violent extremism (CVE) strategy. Government and civil society leaders promote the Indonesian practice of Islam as a peaceful and moderate alternative to violent extremist teachings. Established terrorist organizations remained the primary sources of radicalization in Indonesia. These groups have long called for the establishment of an Islamic state in Indonesia and tap into perceived injustices against Muslim communities in Indonesia and abroad. They exploit both cyberspace and weaknesses in Indonesia’s overcrowded prison system to expand their influence and recruit new members.
The BNPT uses provincial-level Terrorism Prevention Coordination Forums comprising civic and religious leaders to develop and coordinate CVE-related programming within their communities. The BNPT also collaborated with student leaders to develop counter-narrative content, which was disseminated through official BNPT websites and social media accounts. A de-radicalization blueprint for terrorist prisoners issued by BNPT in late 2013 had not been fully implemented by the end of 2016. In coordination with the Directorate General of Corrections, the BNPT planned to open a de-radicalization center in Sentul, south of Jakarta, but it was not operational at the end of 2016. In addition to the BNPT, police trained their public relations officers on effective counter-messaging approaches.
A diverse array of non-governmental organizations and other civil society organizations was active in developing CVE programming; however, there was minimal coordination between these efforts and government programs. There were increased civil society efforts to develop credible counter-narrative content and small-scale programs to reintegrate former terrorist prisoners into society. In May, the world’s largest Muslim civil society organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), hosted an international summit of moderate Islamic leaders to discuss violent extremism. NU’s CVE efforts included new overseas chapters, academic collaborations, a documentary film, and a nascent counter-messaging effort.
International and Regional Cooperation: Indonesia participated in counterterrorism efforts through 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). As a member of the GCTF, Indonesia co-chairs with Australia the Detention and Reintegration Working Group, and co-hosted the third plenary session of the working group in December in Batam. In August, Indonesia hosted an international ministerial meeting in Bali to discuss efforts to counter the cross-border movement of terrorists. Concurrently, Indonesia and Australia co-hosted the second Counter Terrorist Financing Summit and released a regional counterterrorist financing risk assessment. In November, Indonesia hosted the INTERPOL General Assembly in Bali.
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 continued to use the Jakarta Center for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) as a regional resource in the fight against transnational crime with a focus on counterterrorism. The United States and other foreign partners routinely offered counterterrorism training courses at JCLEC. Since its inception in 2004 as a joint Australian and Indonesian initiative, JCLEC has trained more than 20,500 police officers from 71 countries.