The head of Indonesia’s national counter-terrorism agency has warned of the imminent deployment of foreign terrorist fighters from Malaysia.
Saud Usman Nasution said it was unclear where the Islamic State (IS) sympathisers will be sent.
In a rare interview, the counter-terrorism chief told the ABC that IS was working with people smuggling networks to bring foreign fighters to Indonesia.
He said the fighters arrive from Malaysia in Sumatra and are then taken to Poso in central Sulawesi, which is suspected to be a training ground for IS fighters.
“We see that some foreign terrorist fighters from overseas come to Indonesia,” Mr Nasution said.
“First they leave Malaysia and head for Pekanbaru (Sumartra) to Puncak (west Java) — it’s all facilitated by asylum seeker networks, then from Puncak they would leave to Makassar and Poso, with facilitation from ISIS network.
“So we need to stay vigilant, more so because there is information that in Malaysia there are a lot of foreign terrorist fighters there who are about to be deployed — we don’t know where to — under the ISIS network.”
Mr Nasution said 76 Indonesians had returned from Syria, while 52 died there and four acted as suicide bombers.
He said it was unclear how many Indonesians went to Syria and Iraq to fight with IS because they often move through a number of countries to get there.
“The threat for us is significantly serious,” Mr Nasution said.
“There are many radical and terrorist groups in Indonesia that would like to take revenge against what they see as injustice from the West against Muslims.
“So we need to continue to stay alert especially after the flock of returnees coming from Iraq and Syria to Indonesia.”
Mr Nasution said there are many areas under close watch in Indonesia, including the increasingly popular holiday destination of Lombok.