JAKARTA — Head of the National Counterterrorism Agency’s (BNPT), Commissioner General Suhardi Alius reiterated that Riau Islands was an area prone to become an entry point for terrorist due to its geographical condition. Some 96 percent of the area is ocean, Suhardi stated at a briefing, before hundreds of police personnel, on radicalism and terrorism held in Batam on Thursday.
“The infiltration and dynamics are remarkable due to the many routes, in and out from here, in its waters, which could be used for transportation,” Suhardi noted in a statement. With such a geographical condition, he continued, the threat of terrorism in Indonesia would not only originate from local actors but also from foreign terrorist fighters (FTF).
Batam, the largest city in the province, now serves five international ferry routes. These include two routes, which connect Batam and Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and depart from Ferry Batam Centre Terminal and Harbour Bay in Batu Ampar. These two routes are often used by Indonesian workers who want to go to Malaysia.
In addition, Suhardi remarked that the returning of Indonesians, who joined radical group ISIS in the Middle East, would need serious attention in the region. “Monitoring of Indonesians returning from the Middle East, especially those who had previously joined ISIS, must be made super tight and selective,” he revealed. Those fighters, he continued, would become a threat if the authority failed to detect them after they enter Indonesia from Riau Islands.
He also called on the police to strengthen their integrity and nationality to prevent radicalism, which he dubbed as a virus. The briefing was also attended by Riau Island Police Chief Inspector General, Didid Widjanardi, and deputy police Chief Brigadier General, Yan Fitri Halimansyah.