Indonesia’s anti-terror campaign under fire

It is reported that the Indonesian anti-terror squad hurtled from a white van on a bustling street as their quarry — three terror suspects — stepped out of a taxi. They shoved one to the ground and when he tried to shake free, shot him in the head. Another died from a bullet to the chest. The third was led away, his hands tied behind his back and his shirt covered in blood, only to turn up dead hours later.

Witnesses of the operation in east Jakarta told The Associated Press that none of the three suspects appeared to carry a weapon or to put up much resistance. Police deny that, saying they were armed and dangerous.

Authorities have identified only one of the suspects: Maulana, who was shot in the chest, was accused of involvement in a jihadi training camp in Aceh province and a failed plot on Indonesia’s deputy house speaker, said National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri.

The other two men remain unidentified — and, it now appears, may have been implicated simply because they were riding with Maulana in the taxi. Police claim they were linked to the Aceh cell as well.

This episode is not unusual in Indonesia, where U.S.-trained forces at the core of the anti-terror fight have a startling kill-to-capture ratio: One suspect killed for every four arrested.

The deaths not only raise human rights concerns, but risk fueling Islamist propaganda and tarnishing what has been a highly praised campaign that has seen hundreds of suspects arrested and convicted. The killings also mean the suspects cannot be questioned and there is no chance to gather intelligence on their networks.

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