Markus Junianto Sihaloho
National Counterterrorism Agency chairman Ansyaad Mbai said that all five terror suspects gunned down in two raids in Bali on Sunday were involved in an armed bank heist in 2010 in Medan that left one person dead.
Speaking before attending a hearing at the House of Representatives, the head of the agency known as the BNPT said the five men were on the list of wanted suspects linked to the heist at a Bank CIMB Niaga branch on Aug. 19, 2010.
“We also suspect this terrorism network is linked to the Solo group,” Ansyaad said.
The Solo group is believed to have been behind a suicide bombing at a church in Solo that injured 22 people, as well as other incidents in which bombs were discovered and defused before they could explode.
Counterterrorism forces had been monitoring the members of the Bali group for three months, and they were among plotters planning to attack a cafe on the popular resort island, Ansyaad said. “Their targets are many,” he added.
He said that taking out terrorists should be done as fast as possible because if they were left alone for too long, the results of their deeds could be “devastating.”
Many members of the Bali group, he said, left the island after their comrades were shot. “Many are those we are still going after,” he added without elaborating.
The ones on the run were part of the Medan group and the others were from the Solo group, he said.
There are at least four organizations that could be engaging in terrorism in the country, Ansyaad said. He identified the groups as Jemaah Islamiyah, Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, the Indonesian Islamic State (NII) and Tauhid wal Jihad.
Jemaah Islamiyah is an Al-Qaeda-linked terror group that has been blamed for a series of bombings in Indonesia, including major incidents in Bali in 2002 and 2005. JAT was founded by radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir and advocates the implementation of Shariah law. NII wants to replace Indonesia’s secular state with an Islamic caliphate.
Tauhid wal Jihad is believed have been established by Aman Abdurrahman in 2003 and was allegedly connected to nine terror suspects arrested in Depok in 2004.
“Our strategy going forward is to boost the role of religious figures, social organizations and moderates and facilitate the integration of radical figures into formal politics as well as strengthen the legal frame and our deradicalization strategy,” Ansyaad said.
Currently, he continued, there was no clear legal delineation concerning the use of firearms on terror suspects. That meant their deaths in raids such as Sunday’s were often linked to human-rights violations, even though terrorism itself posed a threat to the public in general.
Although a 2010 presidential regulation allows BNPT personnel to use firearms, that should only be a last resort, he said.
“Legal experts still cannot define what is emergency defense,” he said. “Maybe more formulations are needed as to when personnel can use firearms.”
He said that in the case of the Sunday’s raids, officers’ use of their weapons was clearly justified since the terrorists were armed themselves.
Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika praised security personnel for detecting the terror group and moving quickly.
“They were able to act at the right time,” said Mangku, who headed the investigation of the first Bali bombing in 2002.
He called on Balinese officials to not let their guard down, especially considering the upcoming Nyepi, or Balinese Day of Silence, holiday, which usually brings with it large concentrations of people.