Twenty-five killed in series of bombings in and around second largest city Surabaya, eastern Java 13-14 May, in deadliest attack claimed by Islamic State (ISIS) to date. At least eighteen killed and 40 injured in bombings targeting Sunday services at three churches in Surabaya 13 May; police said attacks were carried out by family of six, including nine- and twelve-year-old girls with explosives strapped to them accompanying their mother, and two teenage boys on motorbikes. Police said father of family was head of local cell of ISIS-linked Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) militant network. Three members of another family killed by homemade bombs they were allegedly making in Sidoarjo near Surabaya same day. Four people killed and ten injured in bombing on police HQ in Surabaya 14 May; police said attack was carried out by family of five including child aged eight; ISIS claimed responsibility. Police said all three families connected through religious study group. Five members of elite counter-terrorism police unit Densus 88 and one prisoner killed in riot in maximum-security jail outside Jakarta 8 May; ISIS claimed responsibility, authorities rejected claim. Police shot dead four suspected terrorists attacking police HQ with swords in Pekanbaru, Sumatra 16 May; one police officer killed, two wounded. Parliament 25 May passed new anti-terrorism legislation intended to combat militant networks; first proposed in 2016, new law allows police to detain people suspected of planning attacks for longer, and prosecute those who join or recruit for militant groups.
A dispute over a flag in Aceh is testing the limits of autonomy, irritating Indonesia’s central government, heightening ethnic tensions, reviving a campaign for the division of the province and raising fears of violence as the 2014 national elections approach.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono needs to act more firmly against institutions and officials that defy national court rulings or his inaction risks prolonging local conflicts.
The only measure likely to halt violence in Indonesia’s Papua province in the short term is a major overhaul of security policy.
Almost ten years after the 2002 Bali bombing, Indonesian extremists are weak and divided but still finding partners for new operations.
Election monitors should begin deployment to Aceh long before the 9 April election to deter intimidation.
Despite years of investment in community policing, the Indonesian police remain deeply distrusted by the people they are supposed to serve.
Lecture by Sidney Jones at International Policy Studies program of Stanford University, 5 December 2012.
Originally published in The Interpreter
Originally published in The Jakarta Globe
Originally published in Myanmar Times