Government considers impact of Indonesian FTF repatriation

Government considers impact of Indonesian FTF repatriation

The Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD. (ANTARA/Zuhdiar Laeis/sh)

There are some 660 alleged Indonesian foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) in various countries
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government took into account the impact on social and legal issues, as well as investment, before repatriating Indonesian foreign terrorist fighters, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD has assured. "There are some 660 alleged Indonesian foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) in various countries," Mahfud said here Tuesday.

Mahfud has held a meeting with some ministers and related institutions to discuss the repatriation of the Indonesian FTF.

Present at the meeting were Social Affairs Minister Juliari P Batubara, Law and Human Rights Affairs MInister Yasonna Laoly, Head of the National Counter-terrorism Agency (BNPT) Suhardi Alius, as well as representatives of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) and Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Some of the fighters requested repatriation, while some others were returned by host countries, he said. "Some of the countries only return children, or women and children, but not the fighters."

On the other hand, host countries were alarmed by their presence in their territories, he said.

"We have discussed the issues, whether or not we will return them all. It will not be easy because based on the constitution, each citizen has the right of citizenship and they should not become stateless," Mahfud remarked.

The problem is that their return could pose a security threat, he said.

"This will involve some ministries. The Social Affairs Ministry, for instance, is dealing with the social impact while the Law and Human Rights Affairs Ministry with the legal issue and citizenship. Tourism and investment can also be affected if they pose a security threat," he said.

President Joko Widodo has yet to make a decision on the repatriation of the FTF, Batubara said earlier.

"There is no decision yet (on Indonesian FTF). We have to wait for the President to decide," Batubara said after the meeting. 

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