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Central Sulawesi and Central Java Continue to be JI Strongholds

Central Sulawesi and Central Java Continue to be JI Strongholds
Jemaah Islamiyah remains the most active terrorist organization in Indonesia, even as its priority has shifted to preaching rather than conducting direct attacks.

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Eight suspected members of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) were arrested in counterterrorism operations across Central Sulawesi, Indonesia in April. The arrests are significant as the suspects held crucial positions within JI’s organizational structure. The police reported that JI operatives in Central Sulawesi were actively participating in physical and military training activities in Poso, suggesting the group continues to rebuild its attack capabilities. This trend suggests that JI remains the most active terrorist organization in Indonesia, even as its priority has now shifted to preaching rather than conducting direct attacks. Central Java and Central Sulawesi have consistently featured in several arrests each year, suggesting a possible concentration of JI activity in these areas. Central Sulawesi has a particularly strong history of communal conflict, leaving local grievances and residual infrastructure for militants to exploit. The province's topography, marked by hills and dense forests, is also advantageous for secluded military training. JI has an extensive network of affiliated pesantren and mosques in Central Sulawesi, which it has used for dakwah and recruitment. The lack of arrests in certain provinces so far this year may not be a conclusive sign of lack of activity, as JI has been adept at integrating into society and pursuing their goals through legal avenues. Monitoring of terrorism activity should be continued throughout Indonesia, especially given the potential for militant activity in the lead up to the Indonesian regional elections.

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