Indonesian jails have became a breeding ground for militancy. Police in Indonesia have found that last week’s Jakarta attack was planned in one of the high security prisons of the country.
Afif, one of the inmates in a high security Indonesian jail, died last week after he launched a gun and suicide bomb attack on a busy intersection in Central Jakarta. He was accompanied by three other militants.
Security officials confirmed that Afif, also known as Sunakim, was jailed for seven years for taking part in a militant training camp in Aceh province. Islam in Aceh is practiced in rigid form. While in prison Afif refused to follow the deradicalization programs.
Afif’s transformation from a prisoner to a jihadi has raised many questions on Indonesian prison system. The Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict reported last year that about 270 terrorists were housed in 26 prisons across Indonesia. However, it also affirmed that only a few of them were ISIS supporters.
BBC’s Karishma Vaswani reported that Jakarta attack’s ringleader Bahrun Naim’s lawyer Anis Priyo Anshori said that Naim was a mere scapegoat. Clarifying Naim’s arrest in 2010 for possessing ammunition, he stated, “he has been in jail, and that, too, for a crime that I don’t believe he committed. Now they are doing it again.”
However, the BBC report states that most experts believed that he was radicalized either in his school or in prison. Allegations were also made that Abu Bakar Bashir, who is an Indonesian Muslim cleric and a leader of Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, hold weekly lectures in Indonesian jails. Thus, he spread his radical ideas among the prison inmates.
Meanwhile, Indonesian President Joko Widodo is considering a regulation which would prevent his people from joining radical groups in foreign lands. The top politicians and security officials agreed to review the anti-terrorism law of the country which allows citizens to return home after fighting with ISIS in Syria. The security forces fear that the overseas trained jihadis could launch a much more destructive attack than the one last week.