Suicide bombings in Indonesia took on a new horror when entire families including their young children carried out a string of attacks in the second largest city of Surabaya in May 2018, killing 28 people.
The bombings set off a chain reaction. President Joko Widodo pressured parliament to approve changes in the country's counter terrorism law allowing security forces to take more pre-emptive measures against suspected terrorists. A wave of arrests of terror suspects followed.
The Surabaya attacks highlighted how the role of women in jihad has evolved from supporter, influencer and now, to combatant. It is also shown how ISIS is turning violent extremism into a family affair.
“The main lesson of the Surabaya bombings is not that the use of children is the new modus operandi. It is that the defeat of ISIS in the Middle East has emboldened–rather than discouraged–ISIS supporters to wage war at home,” said Jakarta-based terrorism expert Sidney Jones.
Indonesia has suffered from multiple terror attacks since a bombing in the tourist island of Bali killed more than 200 people in 2002. Since then, the government has channeled much of its resources on counter-terrorism efforts on law enforcement and rehabilitation of former ISIS supporters who want to start a new life.
But less talked about are the now orphaned children of suicide bombers and the many others who have been injured over the years that Indonesia has suffered terrorist attacks. They survived but their lives were forever changed by acts of terror. For them, what is life after jihad?