Southeast Asian terrorists are “regrouping, adapting and recruiting,” and more regional cooperation is required to defeat them, Indonesia’s president said Monday.
In a speech to lawmakers from the Asia-Pacific region, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned that the campaign against militants would be a long one, and said it would need to be fought on “political, economical, legal, social and spiritual” fronts.
“We know that the terrorists are regrouping, adapting and recruiting,” he said. “We all need to intensify our cooperation to fight terrorism.”
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, is a key front in the war against terrorism in Southeast Asia.
Militants from the al-Qaeda-linked Jamaah Islamiyah (JI) network have launched a series of bloody strikes against Western and Christian targets in the country since 2000, including two attacks on Bali island that killed more than 220 people, mostlyforeign tourists.
JI is also blamed for attacks in the Philippines and failed plots elsewhere in the region.
Police in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines have arrested scores of its alleged members in recent years, but intelligence officials say the group is still capable of carrying out more strikes.