16 issing Indonesians Suspected Joining ISIS Last Seen in Turkey

Jakarta The Chairman of Indonesian Intelligence Agency (BIN) Marciano Norman revealed the Indonesian government endeavour to gather more information regarding the 16 missing Indonesians who were last seen in Turkey.

The 16 missing individuals left Indonesia using a travel agency and their whereabouts remain unknown. They are suspected to have fled outside of Turkey to join the notoriously known radical group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“We have coordinated with the local intelligence agency as well as the police force to find the missing persons. The 16 missing people should have been flying back to Indonesia but they never actually returned,” Marciano informed at the Presidential palace, Jakarta, Wednesday (04/03/2015).

Marciano thinks that the strategy of using a travel agent to travel somewhere first just to transit is not a new one but often used, especially by those who went to do ‘umrah’ and never returned since.

“Many of the Indonesian workers who went to do ‘umrah’ to Saudi Arabia never came back and so they furthered their journey somewhere else, most likely to join ISIS. Because if they are not doing anything wrong, why are they hiding or running away from their own government who are suppose to protect them?,” he continued. Marciano continued sharing as he claimed that the intelligence agency is now targeting the travelling agency who is suspected to have been helping these 16 people who are now on the run to somewhere unknown.

“We have this one travelling agency that we will investigate, because it is truly suspicious that the agency does not contact or allow for these people to just run away out of the track of the travelling agency,” Marciano added.

The fear of ISIS rampant widespread accentuated as reports from the Indonesian Ministry of Political, Legal and Security Affairs confirmed that as many as 514 Indonesian citizens have fled abroad to become ISIS members.

The Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Tedjo Edhy Purdjiatno revealed how a large number of Indonesian citizens have been secretly flying outside out the country, claiming that the purpose behind their departure is holiday, and never return back ever since. Indonesia profoundly fears the susceptibility of more of its citizens in becoming part of the notoriously known group.

“Yes, it is true. There are Indonesian citizens who have flown outside of the country, but never came back. We have been monitoring this suspicious trend from the datat collected by the police and from our intelligence agency (BIN),” Tedjo said shortly after attending the National meeting of TNI-Polri at the Auditorium of Police Academy (STIK), Jakarta, as quoted from, Tuesday (03/03/2015).

The Minister assures the society that the government will exert all its power to prevent future potential candidates or individuals who are planning to fly out of the country with the mission to join the radical group.

The data given by the Chairman of the Managing Committee of Nahdlatul Ulama (PBNU), KH Aqil Siraj reveals, as many as 514 Indonesian citizens have now accomplished their endeavour to become part of ISIS. The data also reveals how these people success in flying to the location and join the group was aided by a new strategy previously unknown to the authority. The method was to exploit a certain travel agency and set a specific location for ‘holiday’ and from that location, the individual takes the next flight to Syria and never to return home with no notification.

“This is one of the newly emerging methods being used by these people who are eager to join ISIS. The police and the Indonesian intelligence are now securing the data. Usually, a travel agent has the data of those who should have been coming back home from the trip. Those who don’t will go on the missing person list and will be further investigated as to its linkage to the people who have fled to join ISIS,” Tedjo explained.

In trying to combat the widespread of ISIS, the Indonesian government chooses many platforms to start the prevention. The main platforms are religion, culture and education. Through these important platforms, the government both direct and indirectly encourage Indonesian citizens to acknowledge the danger of ISIS and the threats it imposed to the society whilst leading them on the right track.

However, the government will not halt potential students who are planning to further their studies abroad, especially in the areas around the Middle East.

“No, we wouldn’t hinder those who want to further their studies abroad. Because if they seriously want to go there for educational purposes then obviously their data would have been collected and we have many consulates abroad so it is easier to track. So we know who is going for the right purpose and who don’t. So why are we stopping those who want to do good?,” he concluded. (Akp/Ein)

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