Indonesia to hold meeting between terror attackers and survivors

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JAKARTA A landmark reconciliation meeting between survivors of terror attacks and the perpetrators will be held in Indonesia this month, Jakarta said yesterday.

The meeting, announced by chief security minister Wiranto, is being touted as a first for Muslim-majority Indonesia, which has long struggled with Islamist militancy and attacks.

"This meeting is quite unique - it has not ever happened before," Mr Wiranto, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, told reporters in Jakarta.

People jailed for terror-related offences and ex-convicts will get the chance to apologise to survivors at the meeting, he said.

Media have reported some 150 convicted militants will be involved in this month's reconciliation talks. It was not clear how many survivors would attend or how long or where the two groups would meet.

The government did not release the names of the militants or the survivors and also did not say if any family members of those killed in attacks would participate.

Indonesia, which has the world's biggest Muslim population, has suffered a string of extremist attacks in the past 16 years, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

A crackdown has weakened the most dangerous networks but fears have grown of a resurgence in militancy after hundreds of Indonesians flocked to the Middle East and the Philippines in recent years to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group.

The spectre of a flood of militants returning to Indonesia has driven a push for effective programmes aimed at deradicalising hardliners.- AFP