Indonesia fears terror return as fighters head to Syria, Iraq
Published on Jun 20, 2014 12:13 PM
JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesians are joining the procession of jihadists to Syria and Iraq, sparking fears they will revive sophisticated militant networks when they return and undermine a decade-long crackdown that has crippled the most dangerous cells.
Support for groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Sunni radicals currently rampaging through northern Iraq, is growing among Indonesian extremists with dozens believed to have joined the insurgency.
Analysts say the fighters will pose a new and serious threat to Indonesia when they return home with honed insurgency tactics and international militant connections, echoing the concerns of Western governments. Britain and Australia have expressed fears that Syria and Iraq are breeding grounds for violent fanatics who travel there from the West to fight and pose a threat to national security on their return.
Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation, has long struggled with terrorism but a successful clampdown in recent years has seen the end of major deadly attacks - ironically fuelling interest in Syria and Iraq.
To continue reading, log in if you are a subscriber
Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!