Senior military and police officers get ready to have their picture taken after a meeting with President Joko Widodo in Jakarta in March. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Jokowi Tells Police, Army to Focus on Terrorism Prevention


MARCH 03, 2015

[Updated at 10:42 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, to add comment on support for Islamic State in Indonesia]

Jakarta. Indonesia's security forces must prioritize the prevention of terrorism in the country, President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday during a meeting with leaders of the National Police and the Indonesian Military (TNI).

"In handling terrorism, prevention is our top priority. We shouldn't wait until something happens and then take action," Joko, popularly known as Jokowi, told a press conference after the meeting.

Joko said he believed that the country's security and defense forces should work together to collect information to prevent terrorism.

The president also warned that such terrorist organizations as the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) movement in Iraq and Syria continued to pose a global threat.

"Indonesia and also other countries are currently facing a similar challenge: the doctrine of ISIS," said Joko.

The National Counterterrorism Agency, or BNPT, in December last year said 350 Indonesians had traveled to Syria to join IS.

Terrorism expert Al Chaidar, meanwhile, estimated that IS has as many as two million sympathizers in Indonesia.

Although only a small portion of them translate the sympathy into actual actions by directly going to Syria or Iraq to support the extremist group or helping them with financial assistance, concerns are growing that those who have gone to Syria and Iraq will attempt to spread the movement's extreme ideology among Indonesia’s largely moderate Muslim population upon their return home.

The coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Tedjo Edhy Purdjiatno, said on Tuesday that some Indonesians seeking to join IS pretended to go to Turkey or Jordan for a vacation before entering Syria or Iraq.

Economic growth

Joko on Tuesday instructed the police and army to keep the country secure to boost economic growth.

"We must maintain stability so we can reach our economic growth and infrastructure development targets," the president said.

Joko has set an annual growth target of 7 percent for the next three years.

Separately on Tuesday, Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti, the deputy chief of National Police, announced that an agreement had been signed with the TNI to organize joint training sessions for young officers and boost ties between the two organizations.

"We've agreed to have a joint basic training for six weeks for army and police recruits in order to strengthen our relationship ... so that we can work together very well in the field," Badrodin said.
“That is a new modus operandi. Going for a tour and then disappearing. I’ve received this information,” Tedjo said.