Security Threat Looms over Repatriation of Ex-ISIS: Observers

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Petir Garda Bhwana

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  • TEMPO.CO, JakartaTerrorism observer Al Chaidar opined there is a potential security threat behind the government’s plan to repatriate a total of 600 Indonesian citizens who were former supporters of the international terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State) in Syria.

    “They can commit familial suicidal terrorism," said Chaidar to Tempo on Monday, February 3. Albeit the potential, Chaidar added that it could be suppressed if they could adapt to the system of Indonesian administration.

    “Thus, a counter-discourse and humanization program are necessary, and the government must moderate them,” Chaidar remarked.

    A military observer from the Institute for Security and Strategic Studies (ISESS), Khairul Fahmi, seconded Chaidar’s statement. However, Khairul opined such potential should not be the reason to refuse their return.

    To anticipate the security threat, Fahmi asserted, the government must identify their profile thoroughly in a bid to classify those who could directly return to the community, those who are obliged to undergo rehabilitation and assimilation for certain period, those who requires close watch, and those who must get criminal charges as a consequence of their violation.

    Fahmi further suggested the government expose its plans regarding the repatriation of the former ISIS fighters to the public in detail. "So that negative sentiment towards the plan will not develop," he said to Tempo on Monday, February 3.

    Previously, Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi announced that the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) planned to repatriate 600 Indonesians who are in limbo in the Middle East.

    "They are displaced there and because of humanitarian reasons, they will be returned to Indonesia," said Fachrul during an event at Ancol Hotel, Jakarta, on Saturday, February 1.

    ANDITA RAHMA | HALIDA BUNGA