A young woman missing from Bali is believed to have travelled to Syria and radical teachings have been discovered in the tourist island’s mosques, police say.
Bali police on Monday announced the formation of a special new taskforce to focus on investigating, capturing and de-radicalising extremists.
Investigators have already discovered that a woman from Denpasar travelled to Syria in a group of 16 people who left Indonesia in early March, police spokesman Hery Wiyanto said.
The 23-year-old woman referred to as “SA” married a man from Solo, Central Java, referred to as “M” in 2013, and her Bali family hasn’t seen her since.
“Up to now they haven’t been found,” Mr Hery said. “Both left for Syria from East Java taking their one year old child.
“We have asked SA’s parents and they say they don’t know where their daughter went after she married.” Police have also found indications of radical teachings in Quran recital groups visiting Bali from Malang and Jember, East Java.
Officers were urging people to report groups with radical and antisocial characteristics.
Part of the taskforce’s role will also be to find and block Islamic State-related websites.
Indonesian authorities have estimated that more than 500 citizens could be fighting with IS in the Middle East.
They are well aware of the threat they pose, as returned jihadis were behind the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.
Turkey recently detained 16 Indonesians who were caught trying to cross into Syria and it’s believed a chlorine bomb that detonated in a Jakarta mall last month – with no casualties – was the work of fighters returned from Syria.
An Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman says they have yet to receive information from Bali police on their latest findings.