Regional and local elections took place across entire country 27 June, with thousands of police and military deployed for security; official results expected 9 July. In Papua province, three civilians reported killed and one child injured 25 June by separatist fighters who fired at plane carrying security personnel and election materials to remote Nduga district; three people including two police reported killed by alleged separatists firing on boats carrying voters and officials on election day. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein 19 June expressed concern that govt had not honoured its invitation for him to visit Papua and West Papua provinces. Court 22 June sentenced Islamic cleric Aman Abdurrahman to death for inciting several deadly terrorist attacks, including two in Jakarta in 2016 and attack on church in East Kalimantan in 2017. Leading figure in Islamic State (ISIS)-linked Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) militant network, Abdurrahman was accused of organising attacks from jail; also believed to have masterminded Surabaya church bombings in May that left over 30 people dead. Authorities mid-June reported over 100 suspects arrested over Surabaya attacks, with some killed allegedly while trying to resist arrest. Addressing Shangri-La Dialogue Asia security summit, defence minister proposed regional strategy to fight terrorism in Indo-Pacific.
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