STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT-Indonesia on Friday paid out 24 billion rupiah (U.S. $1.7 million) in compensation to 142 victims of terrorism and their families in Central Sulawesi, a province where Islamic militants have carried out attacks since the 2000s.
Those receiving checks from the payout included relatives of 45 people who were killed in terrorist attacks and those who were injured but survived, said Hasto Atmojo Suroyo, who heads the central government’s Witness and Victim Protection Agency. It serves people victimized by terrorism, human rights abuses, human trafficking and other crimes.
“They are victims of 20 terrorism attacks before the enactment [of the 2018 anti-terrorism law],” Hasto told reporters after a ceremony to hand over the compensation money to victims and victims’ relatives at the governor’s office in Palu, the provincial capital.
At least 357 terrorism victims and their heirs across the country have now been financially compensated, Hasto said.
The government so far has spent slightly more than 59 billion rupiah ($4.1 million) to compensate victims of terrorism and their families, including those in Central Sulawesi, he said.
One of those in Central Sulawesi who received compensation on Friday was the widow of Marten Solong, one of four farmers killed by militants with the Islamic State-linked Eastern Indonesian Mujahideen (MIT) group, in Poso regency last May.
“We are very grateful for this assistance,” Maria Solong told reporters after the ceremony at the provincial governor’s office.
“Some of the money will be used to buy daily necessities and the rest will be used to start a farming business,” she said.
Compensation for terrorism victims is mandated by the 2018 anti-terrorism law, which was rushed through parliament following suicide bombings that targeted churches in the country’s second largest city, Surabaya, in May 2018. The Surabaya attacks killed 22 people, including the bombers.
“The 2018 law is a piece of progressive regulation that protects victims of terrorism,” Hasto said.
In 2020, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo signed a government decree that grants compensation, restitution and assistance to citizens victimized in terrorist attacks that occurred before 2018.
The presidential decree replaced one from 2018 that did not apply retroactively. It stipulates that victims of past acts of terrorism are entitled to compensation, medical assistance, or psychological rehabilitation.
Before 2018, compensation was given on a case-by-case basis, usually by court orders.
The new decree also covers a string of deadly terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of people in Indonesia during the first decade of this century. Authorities blamed those attacks on the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) militant group, a Southeast Asian affiliate of the al-Qaeda terror group.
These included the Bali bombings that killed 202 people in 2002 – Indonesia’s deadliest-ever terror attack – and a string of deadly hotel bombings and other attacks in the 2000s.
In Central Sulawesi, attacks blamed on JI include the bombings of two markets in the town of Poso in 2004 and 2005, which killed six and 22 people, respectively.
More recently, the MIT group has been active in Poso and neighboring areas. Its strength has been reduced to three people after years of an anti-insurgency operation involving police and soldiers.
Most attacks in Central Sulawesi in recent years, including the killing of four Christians in 2020 in Sigi, a regency that borders Poso, have been blamed on MIT.
The group, which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terror organization in 2014, is responsible for kidnappings, bombings of police stations and killings of security personnel and farmers, police say.
Mamun Amir, the deputy governor of Central Sulawesi, said his administration would help provide training to allow recipients to gain new skills.
“We hope that the compensation money can be put to good use,” he said.
“For this reason, the local government will assist the recipients.”