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IPAC Report 56: The Ongoing Problem of Pro-ISIS Cells in Indonesia


President Jokowi visiting the site of the destruction caused by bombs in Sibolga, North Sumatra, in March 2019.
President Jokowi visiting the site of the destruction caused by bombs in Sibolga, North Sumatra, in March 2019. Photo courtesy of IPAC.

Report Summary

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Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC)

Past IPAC Reports

[Jakarta, 29 April 2019] Pro-ISIS cells in Indonesia have been emboldened, not discouraged, by ISIS defeats in the Middle East although their capacity to undertake terrorist attacks remains low.  Indonesian counter-terrorism police generally have a good handle on extremist networks and as Internet recruitment has increased, their capacity to detect extremist groups online has also grown. But the proliferation of cells remains cause for concern, because it would take only one to slip through the cracks and do serious damage. In the wake of the Sri Lanka attacks, Indonesia needs to be particularly alert to the increased role of pro-ISIS women; possibly enhanced attraction of churches as targets; and the possibility of someone with international jihad experience entering the country.

These issues are outlined in “The Ongoing Problem of Pro-ISIS Cells in Indonesia”, the latest report from the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC). The new report examines the emergence of independent cells that have no affiliation to the largest pro-ISIS coalition in the country, Jamaah Ansharul Daulah (JAD). Members have been motivated not only by the ISIS directive to wage war at home but also by the desire to prove that they can pull off an act of violence bigger and better than anything JAD could manage.