Jakarta. The Indonesian chief security minister admitted that the US Central Intelligence Agency has provided data about Indonesian militants who have fought for the Islamic State in foreign countries.
Indonesia has refused to repatriate more than 600 stranded militants from Syria, Iraq, Turkey and some other countries, but it may allow the return of children orphaned by the war.
In a special interview with Jakarta Globe’s sister publication Beritasatu TV aired on Friday night, Political, Legal and Security Affairs Coordinating Minister Mahfud M.D. said data from the CIA have been verified by state agencies including the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), the Indonesian Military’s Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS) and the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT).
“We have data from the CIA about 846 individuals that we checked against our own data from BIN, BAIS and BNPT. We found that 157 of those names have double identities, meaning that there are actually 689 persons,” Mahfud told host Claudius Boekan.
“From that figure, only 288 have complete identities and addresses, while the remaining
401 remain difficult to trace,” he said.
Mahfud added the International Committee of the Red Cross is also in possession of data about 185 Indonesians of former IS fighters.
“But they declined our request to reveal their identities, leaving us in doubt if those individuals are actually among the 689 names in our list,” he said.
“We decided to skip report from the ICRC and focus on what we have today,” he said.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has decided to allow Indonesian children orphaned by the conflicts in the Middle East to return home, Mahfud said.
The decision was made after Jokowi met with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and asked how the neighbor handled the problem.
“During the discussion with Scott Morrison, President Jokowi asked about the FTFs (foreign terrorist fighters) and was told that Australia allowed orphaned children to return for humanitarian reasons,” he said.
The president shared the similar view and ordered his ministers to make exception for children, Mahfud said.
“We make exception for children under 10 years old who have lost both parents in the conflicts,” Mahfud said.
The minister said a lot of works need to be done to validate the data and trace the orphaned children to be flown home.
“In Syria for example, there are 184 Indonesians and only 33 of them are men, while the remaining 151 are women and children,” he said.
Mahfud said the former IS fighters have automatically lost their Indonesian citizenship based on the 2006 Law on Indonesian Citizenship, which stipulates that any Indonesian citizen who has joined foreign armed forces is no longer a citizen.
According to the law, the government doesn’t need a court verdict to revoke their citizenship, he said.