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Terror Threats Remain, Even with Bombers Now Dead

ICC Note:

Many in Indonesia fear that the long series of delays in the execution of the three militants responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings may mean that the short term danger of terrorist threat may actually increase after their deaths.

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11/10/08 Indonesia (JakartaPost) After a series of delays, the three militants on death row for the 2002 Bali bombings. Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Ali Ghufron, alias Mukhlas – were finally executed early Sunday. The delays gave Islamists the opportunity to voice their sympathy and stage rallies in support of the terrorists. They even called them(holy warriors). Whether the executions will help suppress terrorism or instead raise the risk of terror threats in the country is the impending questioning left behind. Terrorism expert Sidney Jones, a senior advisor at the International Crisis Group, shared with The Jakarta Post’s Dian Kuswandini her insights on terrorism in Indonesia following the deaths of the three Bali bombers.

Question: Will the executions of the three men end or reduce terror threats in the country?

Answer: I don’t think the executions will alter the security situation in any fundamental way. They certainly will not end the threat of terrorism; the question is whether in the short term the danger will increase. If the government had denied the Bali bombers access to the media from the time they were first convicted, the risk would have been lower than it is now.

What’s the best approach for the country to effectively combat terrorism?

The real drivers for terrorism in Indonesia are local; the conflicts in Ambon and Poso were the best recruitment tools terrorist organizations ever had. The government needs to understand how communal tensions arise, know where potential hot spots are, and take steps to ensure they do not erupt into violence, while at the same time protect the rights of religious minorities. It needs to look at areas where Christian and Muslim proselytizing may come into conflict, and have good dispute resolution mechanisms available.

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