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Jakarta Post

Indonesia launches first counterterrorism agency

  • Dicky Christanto

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, September 8 2010   /  09:54 am

After a decade of waiting, Indonesia finally saw on Tuesday the birth of the interdepartmental National Antiterrorism Agency (BNPT), which wields greater authority than the National Police’s Special Detachment 88 counterterrorism squad.Insp. Gen. (ret) Ansyaad Mbai, who was appointed chief of the agency, said the BNPT would have a wide range of authorities in the prevention and eradication of terrorism.“To make it effective, we need close cooperation with other institutions such as the military, the Religious Affairs Ministry, academics and other related parties,” Mbai told journalists after his swearing-in ceremony.Human rights activists have voiced concern that the new antiterrorism agency wields too much power and is reminiscent of the kind of state authority that the New Order regime used to quash government critics.Critics pointed to the unclear definition of “terror activit...