How we crippled terrorism in Indonesia – Ambassador

Harry Purwanto

The Indonesian ambassador to Nigeria, Harry Purwanto, on Wednesday, in Abuja, gave insight into how his country crippled the activities of terrorists, who tried to destabilize the country the way Boko Haram is doing in Nigeria.

Mr. Purwanto, who is new in Nigeria, said his country adopted a two-pronged approach – hard and soft – in dealing with jihadist terrorists who intensified attacks in Indonesia in 2000.

Indonesia appears to have succeeded in crippling the activities of terrorists, who, for years, killed many and destroyed properties in the country. 

Speaking recently at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Sidney Jones, an expert in South East Asian extremist groups, said Indonesian security operatives have had an edge over terrorists’ activities in recent years. 

She said there are almost zero terrorist activities in the country as the insurgents are incapable of producing weaponry and making plans to carry out their activities without being detected.

Mr. Purwanto, formerly a Deputy Chief, National Counter terrorism Agency in Indonesia, told journalists that in the fight against terrorism, the country focused on decapitating terrorist groups, individuals and their cells in the country. 

He said the country also made sure terrorists face justice, and eventual execution if convicted, while those found innocent were released.

“We have already brought more than a thousand to justice and more than 400 are already the prison. Some have been executed and others ready to be released,” Mr. Purwanto said.

He said this approach worked because the Indonesian government distanced itself from the judiciary and only offer clemency, if need be, through the president.

The second, the soft and persuasive approach, he said, is a system in which the country empowers the society, and avoid radical influence. 

He said the terrorists, due to fear of execution, now use information technology to disseminate their ideologies.

He emphasized that terrorism affects citizens in many ways and destroys economies.

“When they act, first, they are intimidating the populations, second, they compel the government to do or not to do something and the third they try to destabilize the economy, politics and socio-economy,” he said.

He said terrorism is ideologically driven, with perpetrators always trying to show that the government they are attacking is incompetent. 

He said terrorists use conspiracy, lies and local grievances to coerce young people into accepting their ideologies.

He said Indonesian youth hardly leave the country for greener pastures abroad because they are taught to love their local environment, especially with strong family support, big market, and a fertile soil for agriculture.



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