ANOTHER bomb attack in Indonesia is likely, despite jihadists’ lack of organisation, claims a former key Jemaah Islamiah militant-turned police collaborator, Nasir Abas.
The defector warns that Islamic State radicals angered by US-led airstrikes will attack “in the name of revenge. It will happen again’’.
Abas’s prediction comes on the eve of the 12th anniversary of the Bali bombings, in which 202 people were killed, including 88 Australians. The threat of attack is being closely monitored. National counter-terrorism agency deputy director Arief Dharmawan says he is concerned about the safety of tourists, especially those from US-led coalition countries. But he says “up to now there is no indication of an assault plan to foreign tourists. By increasing the safety and security, we limit that risk’’.
Asked if Bali was at increased risk, he conceded it was possible.
“That’s why we are working together with the Defence Department in Bali. They have been increasing security, not only towards the commemoration of the Bali bomb blast, but also daily.
“We have co-ordinated with Polda Bali (police headquarters) to increase security. We are also assigning more intelligence.”
Mr Dharmawan said since Islamic State’s infiltration of Indonesia, its influence over groups of supporters had grown and legislation was being drafted against those who pledged an oath of allegiance to Islamic State.
“Densus 88 (the counter-terrorism squad) is seriously dealing with the ISIS threat in Indonesia by monitoring the progress of terrorist leaders in prisons, radical groups, and arresting those who are involved in old terrorist networks from several areas which tried to spread ISIS ideology.’’
In Bali to take part in an Indonesian documentary marking the attacks, Abas, 45, will be filmed at Kuta’s ground zero discussing jihadi profiles and his prison deradicalisation program.
No stranger to public forums, the brother-in-law of Mukhlas, the bombers’ executed leader, converted while in jail in 2003.
He has evangelised on the evils of violent jihad since his release in 2004. His crime was an immigration violation but his background was inextricably tied to Indonesia’s history of radicalism. He trained two Bali bombers and was anointed a top regional commander by jailed JI radical cleric Abu Bakir Bashir in 2001.
Denounced as an infidel and traitor, the Malaysian stresses that his switch was voluntary.
“I found the perpetrators misunderstood Islam and jihad and I worried there would be another bomb. I tried to convince the others (his Bali bomb comrades) that what they did was wrong.’’
He defected after a decade of fighting for Islam in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan in the 80s and establishing a training camp in the southern Philippines.
Tomorrow the father of five hopes to talk to Australian families of victims and survivors. “I feel a heavy responsibility. I want to say I am sorry about what happened and today I fight against the radicals and their ideology. It will make me sad and give me motivation to fight against violence.’’ The Australian