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Anti-terror officers deployed to villages again JAKARTA - The Indonesian Military (TNI) is reactivating its intelligence unit that used to work within the community to help the police fight terrorism. The military unit, comprising non-commissioned officers known as Babinsa, would gather all information required to help prevent acts of terrorism, TNI chief Gen. Endriartono Sutarto announced.

"I recently issued circulars to all regional military commands, asking them to reinstate the Babinsa. They don't have the authority to make arrests, but to tap information from people," Endriartono said after a Cabinet meeting on security. During the 31-year authoritarian rule of Gen. Suharto, Babinsa carried out surveillance work for the government and helped maintain security and order in the grass roots.

Indonesia's president, president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono asked the military to actively take part in the war on terror on the TNI's anniversary on 5 October, just four days after Bali fell prey to terror attacks for the second time in three years. The 1 October triple suicide bombing of two Bali resorts killed 23 people, while yet more devastating attacks on a Bali nightclub in October, 2002, left 202 dead. The al-Qaeda linked Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiya (JI) is believed to be behind the Bali bombings and a string of other attacks, including the August 2003 bombing of a luxury hotel in Jakarta that killed 12.

Human rights activists quickly warned of the possible return of the military to non-defense areas, which they said would derail the ongoing military reform. Endriartono shrugged off suspicions that the TNI's involvement in the fight against terrorism would pave the way for the military power it used to enjoy. "The military is involved in the war on terror to back up the police with the necessary information, so that we can prevent any acts of terrorism as early as possible," Endriartono said.

Each soldier, he said, was now expected to support the fight against terrorism. "We have to make use of our resources to support the police. Terrorism is a big problem for all of us," he added. Apart from Babinsa, each of the 11 regional military commands will set up a special team, whose job will be to compile data on terrorism that will be passed on to the police.

There are 1,710 Babinsa members under the Jakarta military command overseeing Greater Jakarta, according to its chief, Maj. Gen. Agustadi Sasongko Purnomo. The non-commissioned officers have been instructed to cooperate with neighborhood and community units and to encourage community security and night patrols.



Posted in Terrorism @ 09 November 2005 07:07 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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