Indonesia has called on their elite counter-terrorism unit (known as Densus 88) as well as other military and para-military forces to guard Christian churches on Christmas. The order comes at a time of strong tension between Muslims and minority religious groups and a growth in radicalism. The trial of Jakarta’s Christian-Chinese governor has heightened those tensions and highlighted rifts between Muslim and Christian groups. The tension has resulted in increased violence against Christians, but moderate Muslims are speaking out in defense of Christian minorities. The government is responding as well, increasing military and police presence over the holidays to protect Christians.
12/14/2016 Indonesia (Jakarta Globe) – Police will beef up security ahead of Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations around the country with the so-called Operasi Lilin, or Candle Operation, between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2.
National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said the operation will focus on making sure all transportation runs smoothly, anticipating terror plots and ensuring enough stock of staple food.
Tito said the police have held meetings with the Transportation Ministry, toll operators Jasa Marga and Jasa Raharja, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) and state-owned Pertamina to prevent transportation problems during the year-end holiday, including traffic congestion, flooding and fuel shortage.
“I have also ordered [the police’s elite counterterror unit] Densus 88 to guard churches on Christmas Eve. We will also involve the Indonesian Military and [Nahdlatul Ulama’s paramilitary] Banser,” Tito said in Jakarta on Monday (05/12).