Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Indonesia preparing for Daesh returnees

Indonesian security officials say they are conducting a softly-softly approach to citizens returning from fighting for Daesh in Syria, as they prepare for a wave of fighters fleeing military operations to retake the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

Coordinating Minister Wiranto said about 53 Indonesians radicalized by Daesh had so far returned.

"We did a soft or humane approach, in which we urged them back to a normal life," quoted him as saying in his office.

Wiranto, however, underlined that although he believes that de-radicalization through such an approach can work, the government also has more persuasive ways to convince Daesh supporters to lose the radical mindset.

"We will delete [such doctrines], or brainwash anything that has been done to them by ISIS [Daesh] during their Syrian venture," he stated.

"But to those categorized as hard [radicalized] figures, we will give special treatment," he added without elaborating.

According to national police data, around 500 Indonesians have joined Daesh in Syria, although the true number could be much higher as many are suspected of arriving in the country undetected.

On Wednesday, the head of the country's National Counter Terrorism Agency (BNPT) said that the government is wary of the return of many Iraq-based fighters following an ongoing operation to retake the country's second-largest city of Mosul from Daesh.

"The most feared factor in ISIS' defeat is the return of hundreds of combatants to their country of origin," Suhardi Alius was quoted as saying, adding that there were worries that many had been given orders to take the Daesh battle home with them.

He said that Indonesian representatives in various countries in the Middle East continued to monitor the situation, and anticipate the possibility of an exodus of Daesh members to Indonesia.

"All the doors, both official and unofficial, that can be used as access for their return are being monitored," he underlined.

One week ago, Iraqi forces, backed by the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, launched a much-anticipated offensive to retake Mosul, which was overrun by Daesh in mid-2014. 

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