17 Jun 2010


Indonesia's anti-terror campaign under fire

JAKARTA, Indonesia – The anti-terror squad hurtled from a white van on a bustling street as their quarry — three terror suspects — stepped out of a taxi.
They shoved one to the ground and when he tried to shake free, shot him in the head. Another died from a bullet to the chest. The third was led away, his hands tied behind his back and his shirt covered in blood, only to turn up dead hours later.
That's not unusual in Indonesia, where U.S.-trained forces at the core of the anti-terror fight have a startling kill-to-capture ratio: One suspect killed for every four arrested.
The deaths not only raise human rights concerns, but risk fueling Islamist propaganda and tarnishing what has been a highly praised campaign that has seen hundreds of suspects arrested and convicted. The killings also mean the suspects cannot be questioned and there is no chance to gather intelligence on their networks.
Indonesia was thrust into the front lines of the war on terror in 2002, when al-Qaida-linked nightclub bombings on the resort island of Bali killed 202 people, many of them tourists. There have been several attacks on Western targets since then, but all have been far less deadly — and the most recent was a year ago.

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