Newly inaugurated State Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Budi Gunawan, left, with National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian.(Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Mounting Security Challenges Await New State Intelligence Chief


SEPTEMBER 10, 2016

Jakarta. Domestic and international threats, ranging from radicalism and terrorism to separatism, await Gen. Budi Gunawan, newly inaugurated chief of the State Intelligence Agency, or BIN, according to security experts.

The country has been on heightened alert since early this year when Islamic State sympathizers launched attacks in downtown Jakarta, killing four people.

Six months after the incident, a suicide bomber attacked the Solo Police headquarters in Central Java. Last month, another failed attack occurred at a Catholic church in Medan, North Sumatra.

"Issues related to radicalism and terrorism become stronger now," Jakarta-based political researcher Fahri Huseinsyah said on Friday (09/09).

In the far eastern province of Papua, the Free Papua Organization (OPM) has conducted a low-level insurgency for decades. Among its grievances is the assertion that the resource-rich region has been receiving an unfair share of state wealth from the central government since it became part of Indonesia in 1969.

"Our country has not finished with separatist issues yet, such as those in Papua," Fahri said.

In the southern Philippines, several Indonesians citizens who worked as crewmembers on ships sailing to the neighboring country have been abducted and held hostage for extended periods in recent months by the Abu Sayyaf armed group.

"That case could no longer be considered as an indirect threat," Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) researcher Hermawan Sulistyo said.

Intelligence expert Wawan Purwanto meanwhile said "threats are the core business of intelligence. How to turn them into opportunities is what BIN should be able to do."