Terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah’s top leaders say it is dissolved. How should its ex-members, the Indonesian authorities move forward?

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Terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah's top leaders say it is dissolved. How should its ex-members, the Indonesian authorities move forward?


The government must still be on the alert for splinter groups acting on their own accord, even if JI is no more, experts said.

“These splinters carry out (terror) acts on their own. The Bali bombing was carried out without any support from mainstream JI members,” Dr Noor Huda noted.

These splinters groups that reject integration with the government should be monitored, he said. Based on his conversations with JI members, Dr Noor Huda said there are thousands of members of such organisations throughout Indonesia. 

“There will definitely be resistance by the splinters. This dissolution is just the beginning, don’t be too hasty to close the story of JI,” he said.

Agreeing, Mr Adhe Bhakti, a terrorism observer from the Center for Radicalism and Deradicalisation Studies (PAKAR), questioned if the decision of the JI leaders would be heeded by members under them.

“The possibility of the lower-rung members  to move on their own, against the decision of the JI top brass, is very high,” Mr Adhe said.

“Although in the short term we won’t encounter threats from JI, in the long term, JI still has the potential to cause security disturbances.”

Mr Harits, however, believes the influence of those who are dissatisfied with the senior members’ decision is limited, as will be their resistance.

“Those who announced the JI’s dissolution are the top leaders, and the loyalty (they command) is still quite strong. There could be one or two people who oppose these leaders’ decision, but they will not have power and influence,” he said.

Mr Abdul Rahim Bashir, the son of Abu Bakar and a former JI member, hopes the dissolution will influence JI sympathisers and prompt them to let go of extremist views. 

“This is a good moment to (wake up) those (JI sympathisers) who are moving underground,” Mr Abdul Rahim told CNA.

He hoped that with the dissolution, the authorities would no longer arrest people suspected of JI links. This had been troubling because there was no proof some of them had committed acts of terror, he asserted.

“Hopefully after this there will be no more arbitrary arrests, because now JI no longer exists, it has been dissolved,” said Abdul Rahim, who has been listed by the United Nations Security Council as having links to Al Qaeda since 2011. 

Mr Harits shared the same sentiment. This is because the court’s designation of JI as a banned organisation will no longer be relevant, he said.

“So far, the icon of terror in Indonesia has been JI. But JI has become a thing of the past, as has the Islamic State (IS). Indonesia will enter a new era in the war of terror,” he said.

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