In Papua, military 18 Dec reported two soldiers shot dead by some ten suspected rebels in ambush in Intan Jaya regency. NGO Human Rights Watch reported police arrested at least 110 people for raising banned Papuan national flag at start of month around independence commemoration 1 Dec, charged 20 with treason. Police 18 Dec reported they arrested and were interrogating eight suspected Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Jayapura and Sentani, Papua province, suspected of planning attack and having links to Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD, responsible for several attacks in Indonesia). Police officer killed in suspected terror attack in Central Sulawesi 13 Dec, reportedly carried out by Islamic militant group Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT). Police anti-terror unit early Dec arrested six alleged militants in West Nusa Tenggara province, suspected of ISIS and JAD links. Govt 26 Dec announced plans to revive “truth and reconciliation” commission as way to bring closure over past human rights violations.
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