Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Extremists in Indonesia weakened but still dangerous: think-tank

JAKARTA - Muslim extremists in Indonesia are regrouping despite a decade-long crackdown that has weakened the deadliest networks, the International Crisis Group think-tank said in a report Monday.

Islamists are finding each other and building new cells "on the run, in prison and through Internet forums, military training camps and arranged marriages", the report said, warning the threat of terrorism was far from over.

Beefed-up anti-terror units have divided cells such as Jemaah Islamiyah -- blamed for the 2002 twin bombings on Bali that killed 202 people -- but smaller groups have formed and carried out low-impact attacks.

"Fortunately for Indonesia, most of these would-be terrorists have been singularly inept," International Crisis Group (ICG) senior adviser Sidney Jones said in a statement.

"But there are signs that at least some are learning lessons from their mistakes and becoming more strategic in their thinking. The danger is not over."

In early 2010, police discovered a training camp in Aceh province, on the northern tip of Sumatra, "involving all major jihadi groups in the country", according to the report, "How Indonesian Extremists Regroup".

After around 200 people were arrested and some 30 suspects killed over the following two years, new alliances emerged, dormant cells were revived and recruits were made "through Internet chatting, prison visits and radical lectures".

ICG Southeast Asia project director Jim Della-Giacoma said police in Indonesia -- the world's most populous Muslim country -- had been lucky because the extremists had been incompetent in many cases.

"Ten years after Bali, there are virtually no effective programmes in place to address the conditions that allow jihadi ideology to flourish," he said.-Interaksyon (July 16, 2012 10:24PM)

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