JAKARTA - Indonesia's army and police said they have taken measures to prevent the infiltration and expansion of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) network into Indonesia amid the militant insurgency in southern Philippines.
"We always keep a guard against any activities that enable the presence of terrorists in the country," Army spokesperson Col. Alfret Denny Tuejeh said as quoted by kompas.com at the Army Media Centre in Central Jakarta on Wednesday (May 31).
Alfret said Indonesian authorities had beefed up territorial defence in Ambon, Maluku, and North Sulawesi as media outlets reported ISIS fighters had attempted to occupy Marawi.
"Shortly after the incident, the commanders of the Merdeka Military Area Command [KODAM]in Manado and the Kodam Pattimura in Ambon immediately texted me, informing me what had happened in Marawi.
They later made statements in the media that we had to anticipate the possible infiltration of ISIS jihadists into Indonesia via Maluku and North Sumatra," said Alfret.
He refused to give details on measures the Army had prepared except for saying that it had coordinated with military commands in areas across Indonesia while monitoring developments in the Philippines.
In North Sulawesi, hundreds of Mobile Brigade (Brimob) personnel from the North Sulawesi Police have been deployed to secure Indonesia-Philippine border areas in Sangihe and Talaud Islands regencies, police spokesman Ibrahim Tompo said.
"To anticipate developments and threats following the Marawi incident, the North Sulawesi Police have launched a territorial security operation codenamed Operation Aman Nusa 3," he said.
Launched on May 29, Operation Aman Nusa 3 aims to secure the waters between Indonesia and the Philippines. Tompo said Brimob personnel would carry out maritime security operations and patrols.
"They will also make routine visits to villages and fishing communities to detect and gather information [on potential security threats] and to monitor mass organisation activities. They will also coordinate with the Densus 88 counterterrorism squad to monitor radical movements," said Tompo.
He added that the Brimob personnel would focus their sea patrol activities in the working areas of the Talaud Police and Sangihe Police. The team will be equipped with patrol vessels and weapons.
The Brimob personnel will be on duty for 90 days in Sangihe and Talaud.
"Around three months. If the situation returns to normal, they can go home earlier, but, if security threats develop, more personnel will be deployed," said North Sulawesi Police deputy chief Brig.Gen. Refdi Andri.