Densus 88, the Indonesian police's anti-terror wing, has been criticised for killing rather than apprehending six suspected militants during a New Year's Eve standoff and shootout in South Tangerang.
Former National Police Chief Dai Bachtiar is among the critics.
"Shooting citizens dead, who are suspected terrorists without the court processes, will only make terrorists seek revenge. This also means the police will become targets of terrorist retaliation," he told Republika on January 10th.
Dai added police should take suspects alive whenever possible, for interrogation.
Wawan Purwanto, a terrorism expert at the University of Indonesia (UI), agreed.
"I always call on the police to capture them alive so they can extract more information from the suspects," Wawan told Khabar Southeast Asia.
Yet, he acknowledged the situation in South Tangerang was far from ideal. The Densus 88 unit involved in the nine-hour house standoff had taken necessary measures to avoid killing the suspects, Wawan said.
"That is why the raid took so long, because the police had expected the men to surrender," he said.
In Wawan's opinion, there was another significant factor in the outcome: the terror suspects had been trained to fight until the end rather than surrender.
Surrender calls ignored
Indonesian officials defended the operational conduct of Densus 88.
The slain suspects were believed to be part of a militant group responsible for the August 2013 bombing of the Ekayana Buddhist temple in West Jakarta, and for a series of fatal police shootings last year.
In the New Year's Eve raid, police recovered 50 jihad-themed books, six handguns, six home-made pipe bombs, five machetes, bomb-making materials and Rp. 235 million ($19,900) in cash, officials said.
Officers also found a handwritten note listing the US Embassy, a police precinct, and some Buddhist temples as targets for planned terrorist attacks, police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar told Khabar. The six men, he said, were "terrorists armed with guns and bombs."
The National Police Commission (Kompolnas) also defended the raid, saying the Densus 88 unit followed proper procedures.
"We came to the conclusion that the police had taken all the necessary steps to avoid the shootout, including issuing a public address calling for the men to surrender," Kompolnas Commissioner Edi Saputra Hasibuan told Khabar.
Edi said commissioners visited the site of the standoff, gathering information from locals on how Densus 88 handled the situation. They also visited the police hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta where the terror suspects' bodies were taken for autopsies, he added.
Edi called on police to allow representatives of religious organisations, human rights groups as well as Kompolnas commissioners to observe future anti-terrorist operations.
"It would also be a form of public accountability that the police conduct raids according to [established] procedures and to prevent allegations emerging later that their actions compromised their targets' rights," Edi said.