Indonesian police nab 5 adults, 9 kids going to Syria

Armed Indonesian soldiers securing the Soekarno-Hatta airport in Tangerang outside Jakarta on Jan 14, 2016.
Armed Indonesian soldiers securing the Soekarno-Hatta airport in Tangerang outside Jakarta on Jan 14, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA • Fourteen Indonesians who were attempting to travel to Syria were arrested at Jakarta's international airport yesterday.

The five adults and nine children were detained by police for several hours for questioning, and were asked about their suspected plans to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group.

The arrest took place at about 1pm, an hour before their scheduled departure on an AirAsia flight that was bound for Bangkok, police spokesman Mohammad Iqbal told reporters.

Among those arrested was a family from Tangerang in Banten province, and another family from West Kalimantan.

The arrests took place less than a month after four Indonesians were stopped at Woodlands Checkpoint in Singapore. They were later handed over to the Indonesian police in Batam, after it was established that they were en route to Syria to fight for ISIS.

More than 500 Indonesians are believed to have travelled to Syria to join ISIS, with more than 40 believed to have died in battles, according to Indonesian authorities.

The Indonesian government is stepping up efforts to stop people from linking up with ISIS, for fear that such radicals may come home from the battlefields in the Middle East and pose more problems.

Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2016, with the headline 'Police nab 5 adults, 9 kids going to Syria'. Print Edition | Subscribe