By Marni Cordell
Indonesia's counter-terror unit Detachment 88 is funded and trained by Australia. Why are we so involved with a unit whose work includes counter-separatist activities? Marni Cordell reports from JakartaWhen politicians in Australia hail the success of Indonesia’s counter-terror forces in catching, charging — and often killing — the country’s top terror operatives, it’s Detachment 88’s work they are talking about.
Detachment 88 is an elite counter-terror unit within the Indonesian National Police that was formed in the aftermath of the 2002 Bali Bombings. It is funded and trained by Australia, and enjoys close co-operation with the Australian Federal Police.
Noordin Top, Dulmatin, Abu Bakar Bashir, Umar Patek have all been apprehended since the force became operational in 2003. Jakarta-based terror expert Sidney Jones calls them "the top of the top" — and Australia’s training and money have been instrumental in their success in disarming Indonesia’s significant terror network. According to DFAT, Indonesian authorities have convicted over 470 terrorists and their accomplices since 2000.
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