The National Police's elite anti-terror unit Densus 88 in action. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Iqbal)

PAN Calls for Densus 88 Audit After Terror Suspect's Death


MARCH 30, 2016

Jakarta. The National Mandate Party (PAN) says it supports a call by Islamic mass organization Muhammadiyah on President Joko Widodo to form an independent team to evaluate and audit Densus 88, to make sure the National Police’s elite anti-terror unit operates within the confines of the law.

The party's deputy chairman at the House of Representatives, Teguh Juwarno, pointed to the recent death of Siyono, a suspected terrorist, after he was arrested by Densus 88 in Klaten, Central Java.

“We've been disappointed by Densus 88's uncontrolled behavior. […] The president cannot stay silent on Densus 88’s track record of killing over 100 suspected terrorists, in actions that obviously violate human rights,” Teguh said on Wednesday (30/03).

The lawmaker said the unit's track record points to a serious problem, which the president should fix.

Densus 88 has been successful in countering terrorism in Indonesia, arresting hundreds. Terror suspects also regularly get killed during Densus 88 raids on hideouts, however, like in the case of leading terror mastermind Noordin Mohammad Top in 2009, also in Central Java. It was not immediately clear exactly how many people have been arrested by the unit since it was formed in 2003, or how many suspects have been killed.

"The president should order the PPATK [Financial Transactions Report and Analysis Center] to do an audit on Densus 88's and the BNPT's [National Counterterrorism Agency] sources of funding. Allegedly, they've been using foreign funds with no clear audit,” Teguh said, without elaborating on where he believed those foreign funds would be coming from.

Densus 88 has reportedly been formed with US and Australian help.

Local media said Siyono died after he was arrested by Densus 88 operators. Allegedly, Siyono tried to escape.

Siyono was confirmed dead on March 10. Densus 88 captured him after arresting another terrorist suspect, Awang, also known as Tata, on March 7. The two allegedly worked in a weapons factory owned by terror network Jemaah Islamiyah discovered by police in 2014.