Indonesia bans 600 nationals from returning home due to connections with ISIS

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 12, 2020, 05.40 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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The suspected militants are currently stranded in Syrian refugee camps and have remained there since US-led coalition forces defeated ISIS in March 2019.

In a bold move, Indonesia has barred the return of more than 600 of its citizens as they are believed to be fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

The suspected militants are currently stranded in Syrian refugee camps and have remained there since US-led coalition forces defeated ISIS in March 2019.

After meeting President Joko Widodo, the coordinating Political, Legal and Security Minister Mahfud MD stated that they do not intend to take back foreign terrorists for Indonesia, but they are willing to consider making an exception for orphaned minors, depending on their case.

Per data from the US Central Intelligence Agency, Mahfud stated that 689 Indonesians were stranded in Syria, but they had only been able to confirm identities of around 288. Indonesians who travelled to Syria to join ISIS reportedly burned their Indonesian passports and all forms of identification.

Head of Indonesia's counter-terrorism agency, Inspector-General Suhardi Alius stated that the government had set up a task force under Mr Mahfud to evaluate and come up with proposed options for Mr Joko to deal with the issue.

Preceding the recent announcement is heated debates among the masses of Indonesia over allowing countrymen and their families to return home.

Mr Mahfud's adviser Dr Sri Yunanto stated that security concerns of neighbouring countries would be among the factors Indonesia would consider before deciding on the matter.