Suspected Islamist militant activity surged in South Kalimantan, while month saw series of protests calling for release of Papuan activists accused of pro-independence activities. In South Daha district, South Kalimantan province, suspected Islamic State (ISIS) militant 1 June set fire to police car and attacked police officers, killing one and seriously injuring another, before being fatally shot; counter-terror unit Densus 88 7 June arrested two alleged members of South Kalimantan branch of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, who they accused of co-planning attack. In Central Sulawesi province, members of joint police-military taskforce – established in 2016 to capture or eliminate Islamic militant group Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT) – 2 June allegedly shot and killed two Muslim farmers in Poso regency; hundreds of people 10 June demonstrated in town of Poso demanding investigation into shooting; police and National Human Rights Commission next day established team to look into farmers’ deaths and that of civilian reportedly also killed by security forces in April. Thousands rallied in series of demonstrations early-to-mid June in Papua, East Java, Jakarta and East Kalimantan provinces demanding release of seven Papuan activists, including Buchtar Tabuni, accused of “treason” for pro-independence activities; dozens injured as protest in Jayapura in Papua turned violent and some buildings were attacked. Balikpapan District Court 17 June sentenced all seven Papuan activists to between ten and 11 months in prison for treason. Jakarta State Administrative Court 3 June ruled unlawful govt’s internet shutdown in Papua and West Papua during 2019 protests. Local fishermen 25 June rescued 99 Rohingya refugees stranded at sea north of Aceh province, ignoring govt hesitations to allow them in due to COVID-19 risk.
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