National

Terrorist hunt continues
in West Nusa Tenggara

The National Police have put West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) on high alert as they continue a massive manhunt for two suspected terrorists, following the killing of five other terrorists.

West Nusa Tenggara Police chief Brig. Gen. Mochamad Irawan said that suspects were believed to be members of the group behind a series of attacks in Poso, Central Sulawesi.

“Of the seven fugitives, five have been gunned down. Only two are left standing. We have put the whole of Sumbawa Island on alert,” Irawan told Antara news agency.

Counterterrorism squad Densus 88 killed the five terror suspects in two separate raids.

The suspects were gunned down as they resisted arrests.

On Friday, Roy, a Makassar resident, and Baktiar, a resident of Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, in Mangga Nae, Dompu regency also in NTB were shot by Densus 88. The squad also seized an FN pistol, a revolver and a motorcycle.

On Saturday, Densus 88 shot and killed three unidentified suspects in a house in Woja district, Dompu. Irawan said that one of the dead had put on a bomb vest during the raid.

The Densus team seized bomb-making materials and three explosive devices from the scene.

The seven terror suspects fled from Poso to the NTB by using a cargo ship few weeks ago. They were known to be active terrorists and were on Densus 88’s wanted list.

The bodies of the terrorists were flown to Jakarta on Sunday to be identified at National Police headquarters.

Irawan suspected that the two remaining terrorists were still hiding on the island.

“We expect locals to step up their vigilance. Don’t allow them to repeat what they have done in Poso,” he said.

He said that the Densus 88 report indicated that the Santoso group had planned numbers of attacks in Bima and Dompu.

Meanwhile, NTB Governor Zainul Majdi urged all regents to crank up security on the island.

“We are not taking good enough care of our own neighborhoods. The police chief has said that the five dead terrorist got their supplies from locals,” Zainal said during the press conference.

Meanwhile, in Jakarta, members of Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), a hard-line group linked to long-time fugitive Santoso, urged the security forces to stop intimidation of members of their group.

Muhammad Ackhwan, a senior JAT member, said that members of the organization in Poso had received threats from local police personnel following the attacks by the terrorist cell.

“JAT has programs which are not related to violence. We are still doing dakwah (preaching). We don’t wage physical holy war or jihad because Ustadz Abu [Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, JAT founder] has not declared a war,” said Ackhwan at the launch of a book written by Ba’asyir.

Harits Abu Ulya, director of the Community of Ideological Islamic Analyst (CIIA), blamed the NationalCounterterrorism Agency (BNPT) for a lack of communication with members of the Muslim community which in turn hindered the institution’s deradicalization of such hard-line groups.

“The agency’s deradicalization program has been counterproductive because it has failed to give a counterarguments against the groups radical ideas,” he said. (yps)

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