Counterterrorism should apply soft approach: Jakarta police chief

Counterterrorism should apply soft approach: Jakarta police chief
PHOTO: Reuters

Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian said recently that the government needed to intensify the teaching of pluralism and nationalistic values to society to counter radical ideologies, such as those promoted by the Islamic State (IS) movement.

"There should be constant collaboration among ministries and public institutions," he told reporters at the Jakarta Police headquarters in South Jakarta.

He said the government should involve the Religious Affairs Ministry and Culture and Education Ministry to counter the narratives used by radical groups to spread their ideologies, and the Trade Ministry to cut off their arms supplies.

Tito made the statement after a video, allegedly made by the notorious Santoso-led terrorist group in Sulawesi, went viral on social media platform Facebook on Monday.

The video contains a still image with text that reads, "the appeal of the commander Abu Wardah Asy-Syarqi [believed to be an alias of Santoso]" along with voice-over calling on Indonesians to join IS.

The voice-over says that the Santoso group intends to attack the Jakarta Police and wave the IS flag at the State Palace.

Although Tito said that the police would check the validity of the video and whether the voice belonged to Santoso, he said the police had responded to the threat in the video by tightening security around the Jakarta Police headquarters.

He said security had also been tightened at several vital locations.

"Not only have we increased security measures but we are also monitoring specific groups," he said without elaborating further.

He said the police could only monitor them for now as they could only be arrested if a crime had been committed. Separately, Taufik Andrie, a terrorist expert from peace-building organisation Yayasan Prasasti Perdamaian, said that the Santoso-led group would unlikely be able to attack Jakarta let alone the Jakarta Police as many of its members had been arrested by the National Police.

He also said that the group only operated in Central Sulawesi.

He went on to say it was not likely that Indonesia would be attacked by IS because the government had not participated missions to combat IS in the Middle East.

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