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Australian officials visit Bali bombing memorial amid ISIL concern

Publication Date : 23-08-2014


Amid concerns over the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) movement, Australian justice minister Michael Keenan and deputy commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Andrew Colvin visited the Bali bombing memorial site in Kuta Friday morning.

Accompanied by Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika, the 10-minute visit was part of their Indonesian trip and in conjunction with the celebration of one decade of law enforcement cooperation between Indonesia and Australia.

Keenan and Colvin laid flower arrangements at the monument popularly known as Ground Zero, located on Jl. Legian in Kuta.

“We greatly appreciate the cooperation between the two countries. We are keen to cooperate, to do everything we can,” Keenan told journalists.

Keenan also conveyed his concern over the ISIL issue, saying it was a significant problem.

”We might be better responding to it together, so I’ve been interested to hear about the Indonesian experience while I am here.

“I came to explain to the Indonesian government what Australia intends to do about this very significant problem,” Keenan said when asked about ISIL.

Many convicted terrorists will have been released from prisons in Indonesia by the end of this year and Keenan admitted that it was part of the security challenge.

“Clearly, I think that represents a security challenge. But I’ve been very pleased in my discussions with the Indonesian officials and with the Indonesian national police. (....) We look forward to continuing into work with them,” he said.

Pastika gave his assurances that ISIL had not appeared in Bali.

“So far, all evidence, all intelligence, is reporting that there is no such movement in Bali.”

Pastika continued: “This is an ideology problem. I think it is not easy to solve. But all the religious leaders, MUI, Muhammadiyah, the government, military, police, I think all of them have stated that ISIL is banned in Indonesia.

"The most important thing is public awareness that ISIL is misguided, something that could harm our nation,” he declared.

He said that he was not worried about the many terrorists being released from prisons by the end of this year.

“They have undergone guidance in prison. They understand what we should do as citizens,” he said.

Pastika also expressed his belief that it was important that former prisoners should be welcomed into the community and accepted as being rejected would drive them back to their former groups.

Separately, Bali Police chief Sr. Comr. Benny Mokalu said Friday that the police were tightly monitoring the possible movement of ISIL in Bali.

“We have also tightened security at all entrances into Bali. However, we also hope for an active role from all of Bali’s society to prevent the ISIL movement growing in Bali,” Benny said.

Various Muslim organisations and residents across the country have expressed their rejection of the ISIL movement.

In Pekayon, Bekasi, West Java, hundreds of people fulfilled a request for local Muslims to wholeheartedly reject ISIL during a halal bihalal (post-Eid gathering) at the Muhammad Ramadhan Mosque on Wednesday.


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