Joint effort to combat jihadists

Joint effort to combat jihadists

The danger to regional security posed by jihadists returning from fighting in Syria and Iraq will feature in top-level talks between the Australian and Indonesian governments this week.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan, who will travel to Jakarta, told _The West Australian _ Indonesian officials had common concerns about its citizens gaining skills and returning home to engage in domestic terrorist activities.

Intelligence officials estimate about 150 Australians have taken up arms or aided Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq, with reports of a similar number from Indonesia.

Indonesian media have also reported some returning militants have set up Islamic State branches in Jakarta, despite a ban on the organisation.

Mr Keenan will discuss the risk of foreigners fighting in the Middle East during meetings with Minister for Law and Human Rights Amir Syamsuddin and Indonesian National Police chief General Sutarman.

"It's a shared concern and their situation is not too dissimilar to us," he said.

Mr Keenan said the risk of militants returning to Australia was "arguably the most significant security threat faced in the country for a long time".

The main purpose of Mr Keenan's visit is to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation. The centre was set up by the Australian Federal Police and Indonesian National Police after the 2002 Bali bombing to train officers to combat transnational crime, including terrorism and human trafficking.

Mr Keenan credited the centre with helping make the region safer and was a testament to the strong collaboration between Australian and Indonesian police.

The minister will also travel to Bali to mark 10 years since the AFP opened an office on the popular holiday island.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison announced yesterday that 4400 resettlement places for refugees from Syria and Iraq would be set aside in the Government's 2014-15 humanitarian program.

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