A high-ranking police officer has called Indonesia the capital of terrorism in Southeast Asia, pointing to the Indonesian Islamic Group (NII) as one of the regions first groups to spread radical propaganda and to terrorist organisation Jamaah Islamiyah (JI).
These groups had thousands of followers in Indonesia, and many had been arrested, said Jakarta Police chief Ins. Gen. Tito Karnavian.
"I said to my friend in Singapore: Your terrorist group is only a small branch. Terrorist groups in Malaysia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka are also small branches of JI," he added on Thursday as quoted by tempo.co.
According to Tito, Muslim countries should lead the co-operation against radicalism to be able to overcome these groups. The public should also assist the government in identifying newly formed networks. An IT system to report radical group activity would be a good mechanism, he said.
"The internet is amazing, but efforts to overcome radicalism via the internet are, if not a big zero, only ten on a scale of one to 100," said Tito.
Tito went on to suggest a tighter detention system for members of radical groups.
"Most of the radical group members that were arrested in Poso, Central Sulawesi were moved to Java, since its prison didn't have a special treatment for radicals. It will be dangerous to put the members together there, since they would be able to consolidate," added Tito.
He also said that wanted terrorism suspect Santoso had been previously captured in a robbery case in Palu, Central Sulawesi, and sentenced to three years of imprisonment. But since there had been no special treatment for him, he had been released, and now led the East Indonesia Mujahiddin terrorist network in Poso.
"The transfer of prisoners to Java will cut their connections with other radical groups. But, if we're unable to control the situation, they can meet the bigger bosses here who are more radical," said Tito.