Indonesian General Gatot Nurmantyo said the Islamic State has sleeper cells in almost every province of the country. He also worried Monday that these terrorists “can easily join up with other radical cells.”
The Philippine government has been fighting a raging Islamic insurgency on the island of Mindanao which has long been a hotbed for extremism and insurgency. Mr. Nurmantyo is worried the rebels can transmit the problem to Indonesia.
Sleeper cells can unexpectedly commit terror attacks or be active in hiding terrorists who are transiting their area.
“It’s easy to jump from Marawi to Indonesia and we must all beware of sleeper cells being activated in Indonesia,” Nurmantyo told reporters at a press conference in Jakarta, reported Newsweek.
“Almost in all Indonesian provinces, except for [majority-Christian] Papua, there are ISIS sleeper cells,” he added.
“If the Philippines wins, Indonesia would get a spillover effect from the retreating militants, but if the Philippines loses, Mindanao would be a strong regional ISIS base that threatens Indonesia among others,” said Indonesian Major General Ganip Warsito, who is responsible for the border area near the Philippine islands.
Indonesia has increased its troop presence in the area.
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