Return Of IS Fighters Likely To Rejuvenate Terrorism In Indonesia

A leading expert on Southeast Asian extremist groups said jihadists returning from fighting in Iraq and Syria could spark more terrorism activities in Indonesia, Xinhua news agency reported.

Sidney Jones, head of Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, told a Sydney conference young Indonesian extremists who have experienced life with groups such as the Islamic State (IS) could cause threats in the region.

Extremists groups in Indonesia have pledged allegiance to the IS and a small but significant number of Indonesians have joined the ranks of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq.

Speaking at the Lowy Institute on Tuesday night, Jones said Indonesian authorities had successfully detained jihadist groups and the extremist movement had become weakened.

However, the recent IS campaigns could spark more jihadist violence in Indonesian and Southeast Asia.

“We’re all concerned that with probably close to 200 fighters or supporting personnel in Syria or Iraq from Indonesia that we could see a real boost to the terrorist movement if they return,” she said.

“The danger is that people coming back from Syria will have the combat experience.

“They’ll have the deepened ideological commitment and weapons training. They’ll have international connections and most importantly legitimacy that could provide leadership for the terrorism network,” she added.