Sunday, May 16, 2010

Anti-Terror ‘Shoot-on-Sight Policy’ Only Fuels Cries for Vengeance, Former Indonesian Jihadist Claims

The deadly force frequently employed by the country’s anti-terror squad only sparks rage and fuels vengeance in the hearts of the suspected terrorists’ families and colleagues, a former jihadist has said.

Ali Fauzi, the younger brother of executed Bali bomber Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, told the Jakarta Globe that anti-terror raids were becoming deadlier, with officers “shooting people on sight” and asking questions later.

“If the [Detachment 88 counterterrorism unit] only guns down suspects instead of capturing them alive and interrogating them, it will be counterproductive,” he said. “They [terrorists] actually want to die as shaheed [martyrs].”

“Can you imagine 15 or 20 years from now, their offspring will take revenge. This terror cell will never be brought down.”

Police killed five suspects during terror raids in Cawang, East Jakarta, and Cikampek, West Java, last week.

National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri said it had been necessary to kill the men because they had refused to surrender and were very dangerous.

The five dead men were identified as Maulana, Saptono, Ujang Michrodin, Dani Ramdani and a “Mr. X.”

“Even police do not know the identity of all the suspects they shot. If you don’t know them, why shoot them?” Ali said.

He said he had been close to Maulana. They had both lived in the Philippines, where Ali said he was an instructor at a paramilitary camp run by regional terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah.

Ali said he did not believe Maulana had wanted to fight to the death.

“I knew him personally for years,” he said. “I saw him again nine months ago. I think he would have preferred to surrender to police than to die. His son has no parents now. His wife died of lung cancer sometime ago.”

Ali said he found it “surprising” that Maulana was involved in terrorism again after being jailed in Malaysia under the Internal Security Act.

“He told me that he would not get involved anymore. I am sure he would have surrendered to police,” he said.

After his return to Jakarta from Malaysia in 2008, Maulana told the Jakarta Globe that he would not return to his old ways. “I really want to be a good man, and give time to my son and wife,” he said.

Ali said he would not be surprised if police shot and killed the country’s most-wanted terrorist fugitive, Abdullah Sonata, when they located him.

Bambang has said Sonata is a top recruiter for the armed militant group uncovered in Aceh and ranks next to Dulmatin, a senior member of the group who was shot dead in March.

Sonata was jailed for seven years in 2006 for hiding the late terrorist leader Noordin M Top and for possessing illegal firearms, but he was released in April 2009.

Separately, Nasir Abbas, a former JI member now assisting the police, said he understood why officers shot and killed terrorist suspects during raids.

“I was hoping police could arrest them alive, but we do not know what happened at that time,” he said. “The police should protect themselves and the people around them. Sometimes they have no other choice but to shoot.”

Nasir said he did not believe the police had a shoot-on-sight policy.

“Many terrorist suspects are captured alive,” he said. “I think police have handled these cases professionally, like the time when I was arrested in 2003.”

He said it was easy to tell if a former terrorist or suspect wanted to change his ways.

“If they have it in them to contact me and talk about changing their path, that means that they are serious about changing their lives,” Nasir said.

“If not, they want to go back to becoming terrorist suspects once again.”

Recent terrorist raids

Aceh Besar
Four terrorist suspects and two civilians killed; 42 suspects arrested

Medan, North Sumatra
Six suspects arrested

Ciputat and Pamulang, South Jakarta
Three suspects killed in two separate raids, including mastermind Dulmatin, and four arrested

Pejaten, South Jakarta
Three suspects arrested

Cawang, Jakarta
Three suspects killed

Cikampek, West Java

Two suspects killed, one arrested

Sukoharjo, Central Java
Four suspects arrested

Seized by Police
More than Rp 100 million ($11,000) in cash and Rp 1 billion in other funds
19 assault rifles and 10 handguns, with more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition
Jakarta Globe

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