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The Revival of Bakorinda Raises Concerns

Updated On: Jun 14, 2005

As another alert goes up about imminent terrorist attach in Indonesia, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) ordered the revival of its disbanded regional intelligence agency as one way to counter future terrorist attacks.

The Regional Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Bakorinda) under the country’s governors will be used to track down terrorist groups.  Bakorinda is supposed to help improve coordination between the various security and military agencies and local leaders to prevent any terrorist attacks at the provincial level.  Human rights groups, however, expressed concerns that Bakorinda may be misused by security forces to stifle civil liberties.

Bakorinda was originally set up during Suharto’s era to monitor public activities, especially those with potential to undermine the government. It was scrapped with the fall of Suharto. Reviving it brought back fears of the “bad old days” of the Suharto regime.

SBY’s government sought immediately to reassure Indonesians that Bakorinda will target only terrorists in the provinces and its work will complement that of a new anti-terror agency at the national level.  The head of counter-terrorism further dispelled the fear of abuse by reiterating that Indonesian security forces nowadays are under the scrutiny of the Parliament and the media, and any misuse of authority would be dealt with by the law.

* Government plans to revive notorious agency (The Jakarta Post, 10 June 2005)

Jakarta to revive domestic intelligence agency  (The Straits Times, 11 June 2005)