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11/13/2020 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – Indonesian counter-terrorism police, Densus 88, has arrested dozens of people across Indonesia in recent months amid concerns about growing terrorist activities as the pandemic still carries on.

Last week, Densus 88 nabbed seven members of the nation’s two main Islamic militant networks through “pre-emptive” raids carried out over the weekend. Five suspected members of al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) were arrested at separate locations in Banten and neighboring Lampung provinces, while two suspected members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), an IS-linked militant network were captured in West Sumatra province and in Riau Islands province.

JI was behind a series of terrorist attacks in Indonesia since 2000, including two bombings in Bali – which killed a total of 225 people in 2002 and 2005 – and the 2004 Australian embassy bombing, which killed nine.

JAD is a terrorist group based in Indonesia that was formed in 2015. With its allegiance to IS, it has launched several suicide bomb attacks against churches, killing dozens.

According to Jakarta Post, National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) chairman Comr. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar argued that the pandemic had increased the threat of terrorism as it opened opportunities for terrorist groups to spread propaganda through cyberspace, targeting captive audience at home.

These terrorist groups had taken advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to spread their narratives, recruit new members and raise funds, he said.

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