Country Report on Terrorism 2020 - Chapter 1 - Indonesia


Overview: Indonesia applied sustained pressure to detect, disrupt, degrade, and deny safe haven for terrorist groups operating within its borders. ISIS-affiliated Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT), Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), and JAD offshoots continued to target police and other symbols of state authority. While not a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, the Indonesian government and Muslim civil society leaders forcefully and repeatedly denounced ISIS and actively promoted the importance of CVE efforts to complement law enforcement counterterrorism efforts. Indonesia is an active member of the GCTF and co-chairs the CVE Working Group with Australia. The Indonesian, Malaysian, and Philippine militaries continued their cooperation to improve joint operation capabilities to prevent terrorism and transnational crimes through coordinated air and sea patrols.

2020 Terrorist Incidents: ISIS-inspired groups and lone actors continued to target civilians and law enforcement:

  • In April, MIT killed two civilians in Poso.
  • In June, a sword-wielding ISIS supporter killed an Indonesian policeman in South Daha district, Kalimantan.
  • On November 27, MIT members killed four civilians in Sigi district, Central Sulawesi.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: On July 7, the Government of Indonesia issued Regulation No. 35/2020 on Providing Compensation, Restitution, and Assistance to Witnesses and Victims (including victims of terrorism) as an implementing regulation under the 2018 Law on Terrorism. The regulation ensures victims’ right to seek compensation from the government for damages incurred attributable to past terrorist attacks.

According to the National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BNPT), from January to December, police arrested approximately 260 terror suspects and killed at least 10 who were resisting arrest. Among those arrested was Zulkarnaen, alias Aris Sumarsono, an alleged military commander in the al-Qa’ida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist organization believed to have been involved in planning the 2002 Bali bombings and other attacks. Indonesia convicted at least 23 terror suspects, and 189 remain under investigation or on trial.

The government extended the joint police-military Operation Tinombala offensive against MIT in Sulawesi province through December 31.

Border security improved, but challenges remain. Indonesia connected its 36 most-traveled international airports, seaports, and land ports of entry to INTERPOL’s law enforcement data network, enabling the Customs and Excise Directorate General to screen 99 percent of all international passenger traffic against INTERPOL databases. Indonesia also actively contributed stolen and lost travel document (SLTD) records to the INTERPOL global database through automation. Police and other agencies maintain watchlists of suspected terrorists, but lines of communication and coordination among stakeholder agencies were not always clear. The U.S. government worked in coordination with BNPT and other Indonesian border security and law enforcement agencies to develop and consolidate these efforts through the Watchlisting Assistance and Support Program.

In March, Indonesia participated in the Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines Trilateral Security Conference. The conference addressed the tri-border operational environment, kidnapping trends on the high seas, tactics used by threat groups, government initiatives and efforts, and gaps and challenges in securing common borders.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Indonesia is a member of APG. Indonesia’s FIU, the Indonesian Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center, is a member of the Egmont Group. Indonesia acquired observer status in FATF in 2018 and is on track toward full membership by 2021. The nation is also a member of the Defeat-ISIS Coalition’s Counter-ISIS Finance Group. In 2020, Indonesia arrested, prosecuted, and convicted individuals for financing terrorism and added five entities and 19 individuals to its List of Terrorism Suspects and Terrorist Organizations.

Countering Violent Extremism: BNPT in 2020 submitted a draft CVE national action plan for anticipated release as a presidential executive order. BNPT also managed “deradicalization” programs for terrorist convicts. Indonesians deported from third countries for attempted travel to Iraq and Syria were enrolled in a one-month deradicalization program at a rehabilitation shelter operated by the Ministry of Social Affairs in Bambu Apus, East Jakarta. BNPT used former terrorists for CVE outreach campaigns and helped establish boarding schools to educate children of former terrorists. Indonesia issued a “Ministerial Joint Decree on Handling Radicalism Among Civil Servants in November 2019” and formed a dedicated task force to monitor, investigate, and report online behavior of civil servants accused of “radicalism.” On October 19, BNPT launched the Indonesia Knowledge Hub on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism (or I-KHub) digital platform to improve coordination, collaboration, cooperation, planning, and implementation of CVE programs among donors.

International and Regional Cooperation: Indonesia continued to support CT efforts in several regional and multilateral organizations, including the United Nations, ASEAN, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defense Ministerial Meetings (ADMM), and APEC. Indonesia remained active in the ARF Inter-Sessional Meetings on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime and the APEC Counter-Terrorism Working Group. Indonesia continued to use the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation as a regional training center. Indonesia is a member of the GCTF and co-chairs the GCTF CVE Working Group with Australia.