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Indonesian President Joko Widodo speaking in the Cabinet meeting at the Bogor Presidential Palace. (Photo: Indonesian Presidential Secretariat)

President Widodo calls for Indonesian military to play bigger role in counter-terrorism

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo has asked for the Indonesian military (TNI) to be given a wider role in the country’s fight against terrorism.

“Give TNI authority in the (anti-terrorism) law,” he said at a Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java on Monday (May 29). “The Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs has already given his reasons to prepare for this.”

On Sunday, the security minister Wiranto had given assurance that the military would not misuse the authority given to them.

The wider role of the TNI in the proposed revision to Indonesia’s anti-terrorism laws had stoked concerns among human rights groups that the military might abuse its powers.

Wiranto said there are other security apparatus that will monitor the military in their counter-terrorism efforts. “The consideration not to allow TNI to confront terrorism is not a wise decision,” he said to online news portal detik.com.

A special committee is currently debating the proposed changes to anti-terrorism laws and there have been calls for them to complete their work soon, following last week’s twin bombings in East Jakarta.

The amendments include granting the military the power to act on terror threats against foreign embassies and missions, as well as to take action against militant cells hiding out in jungles or mountainous areas in Indonesia.

Widodo stressed that terrorism has no place in Indonesia and urged that the anti-terrorism laws be completed soon.

“The Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs (has been asked) to complete this as soon as possible, because we really need this – the legal framework to facilitate and strengthen our security apparatus to take action on the ground,” he said.

Widodo also instructed the National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BNPT) to continue developing preventive programmes in schools, places of worship, in prisons and via social media to fight against radical ideology in the country.
By Saifulbahri Ismail – Source: CNA/ek

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