Police at the scene of the Islamic State-linked terror attack in downtown Jakarta in January 2016. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)

Former Terrorist: Government Mishandles Radical Groups


FEBRUARY 18, 2016

Jakarta. The government has mishandled radical groups in the country as extremism continues to grow amid differing views on the shaping the movement, a former terrorist said.

Ali Fauzi Manzi, a former member of the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group and younger brother of Bali bomber Ali Imron, said the government has failed to take advantage from the development of Islamic State group in the country, saying it is the right time to deradicalize other groups who opposed the Islamic State.

“The Islamic State group is opposed by many radical groups in the country, but the government never took advantage of this situation,” Ali said in a discussion at Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), on Thursday (18/02).

He suggested the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) take a soft approach in dealing with radical groups who refuse to establish alliances with IS, in a move to deradicalize them.

Indonesia IS supporters divide into two groups, Ali said, under Abu Jandal and Bahrumsyah — both of whom are currently fighting in Syria.

The two are racing to lead Malay-speaking militant group Katibah Nusantara, comprised of IS fighters from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Ali criticized the management of terror convicts in jail, as prisons have become a common place radicalization of common criminals.

“The epicenter of extremism in Indonesia is inside the prisons. Radicalization takes place in the prisons. The government messed with this. If we are serious in fighting terrorism, saying it is an extraordinary crime, the prisons should be separated with the robbers,” Ali said.

“Who shot three police in Bima, who shot two police intelligence [officers] in Bima — they are common culprits-turned-terrorists after being trained inside the prison."

“In Malaysia, the government jails terror convicts in separated prisons,” Ali said, suggesting the government should also open a purpose-built prison for terror convicts to prevent more radicalizations behind the bars.

Jailed cleric Aman Abdurrahman has been identified as the region's most influential militant in Indonesia's prisons, after he trained Bahrun Naim, an alleged mastermind the Sarinah attack earlier this year, after the two met behind bars.

Aman also leads an umbrella organization, formed last year, of an alliance of splinter groups that support Islamic State.

Aman regularly spreads “takfiri” doctrine, a belief among Sunni militants who justify their violence by branding others as infidels, through his sermons and lectures.

He was moved to a maximum security prison in Nusakambangan in Central Java in 2013, but continued to communicate with a growing group of around 200 followers using couriers and cell phones.