Fears Stoked Again

It was with alarm that we learned at the weekend that suspected terrorists were plotting attacks again in Bali, according to police accounts following raids in Denpasar and Sanur during which five alleged militants were shot dead.

If it is true that terrorist cells are operating in our midst, it is a frightening reminder that the wholesale threat to human life remains real a decade after zealots blew up nightclubs in Kuta, killing 202 people, many of them foreign tourists, in a large-scale attack that sent the island into an immediate downward spiral from which it only began emerging several short years ago.

It has since been clear, and for some time, that militant Islamic operatives had been plotting attacks against Western interests from their hideouts in Central Java and more far-flung places of the country, including Aceh on the northernmost part of Sumatra.

Indonesian police and anti-terrorism forces have acted swiftly in rooting out these would-be evildoers and arresting or taking them out (however, as we have previously asserted, dead men don’t talk and interrogation is vital to gleaning information about possible future terror plots).

As a result of Sunday’s raids in Bali, the island has this week been on alert, and Australia issued an updated travel advisory to its citizens, warning them of a “very high threat of terrorist attack.”

Many people here, including visitors to our shores, appeared unfazed by the heightened security measures, however, recognising that strikes are not native to any country and happen right around the world. That is not to say we should not all be cautious and vigilant.

The terror threat in Indonesia is not one, it appears, that is going to be wiped out easily. The entire country has felt the effects of deadly bombings and while the authorities race to eradicate hardline elements, it is evident that a renewed focus must be placed on dealing with the breeding grounds of such extraordinary extremism.

It is the factories that produce streams of warped warriors that must be targeted. To a large extent, that means placing a tight focus on the Islamic boarding schools where pliable-mind adolescents are indoctrinated into waging war against a perceived infidel.

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