Indonesian Military Prepares to Set Up Anti-Terror Unit

09/16/2018 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – Growing radicalism in Indonesia has prompted the Indonesian military (TNI) to establish an anti-terror unit, yet human rights groups and observers are concerned that the expansion of the armed forces’ role could lead to a human rights abuse.

Officials said the military is planning to revive a special unit deployed three years ago to fight the Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT), a militant group tied to the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Central Sulawesi province. Currently they await the Ministry of Defense to draft a presidential decree needed for its authorization.

Indonesia was swept by a wave of terror attacks in May. Within one week, suicide bombers targeted churches and police stations in Surabaya and took with them dozens of lives. In response, the government took measures to amend anti-terrorism laws and sentence the leader of JAD, an IS-linked terrorist group to death.

Activists argue that terrorism is a law enforcement issue, not a military matter and should be handled by the police. “Any presidential regulation on the role of the TNI in counter-terrorism should explicitly state that any military involvement should be auxiliary to the police,” said Al Araf, the director of Impartial, a local human rights group.

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