Uighur militants infiltrating Indonesia
The Jakarta Post
The police put four more Chinese Uighurs on their latest most-wanted list on Thursday after determining that the Uighurs had joined the Eastern Indonesia Mujahidin (MIT) terror group led by Santoso, alias Abu Wardah, in Poso regency, Central Sulawesi.
Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Rudy Sufahriadi said the four militants were part of a group of six ethnic Uighurs to have infiltrated the country.
Five of the six Chinese citizens have been identified as Joko, Ibrohim, Mus'ab alias Nuretin, Faruq Magalasi alias Faruq and Abdul. The last Uighur has not been identified.
Two of the six militants, Nuretin and Magalasi, were killed during a shootout in Poso on Tuesday.
'I have reported it to the National Police headquarters. We are waiting for a decision from the National Police as to whether the bodies will be sent back to China or buried here in Palu,' he said.
Rudy said that the Uighurs had left Xianjiang province in China and crossed into Bangkok, then to Malaysia, before heading to Pekanbaru, Riau.
They then proceeded to Puncak in Bogor, West Java, where couriers picked them up to head to Makassar, South Sulawesi.
'From Makassar overland they entered Poso and joined Santoso's group,' Rudy said.
Separately, Palu Immigration Office head Tantawi said that his office no longer examined the documents of foreign citizens entering Central Sulawesi through Mutiara SIS Aljufri Airport in Palu, because the examination was conducted at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
'We just conduct monitoring here. It would be difficult to detect them if they entered overland and directly joined the terrorist group in the jungle,' Tantawi said.
Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he had taken note of the shootout and was trying to find out more.
'China and Indonesia are both the victims of terrorism and are both facing new threats from international and regional terrorism,' he said on Thursday.
'In recent years, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) has continued to infiltrate Indonesia and members of the group have linked up with Indonesian terrorists to open up a shipment route for people to participate in international terrorist activities,' Lu was quoted by Reuters as saying.
'This not only threatens China's national security, but it is also a real danger to Indonesia's and the region's social stability.'
China says the ETIM is a militant group with ties to al-Qaeda. The group wants to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.
Lu said China and Indonesia supported each other on counter-terrorism, and China was willing to increase cooperation in this area.
Four Uighur men were imprisoned last year in Indonesia for attempting to join the Sulawesi-based militant group.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Uighurs are eager to escape unrest in their homeland of Xinjiang province in western China. China says the Uighurs often travel clandestinely to Turkey, and then cross over into Syria and Iraq to fight as Islamic State militants.
Hundreds of people have been killed over the past few years in resource-rich Xinjiang, on the borders of Central Asia, in violence between Uighurs and the ethnic majority Han Chinese.
Beijing has blamed much of the violence on militants led by ETIM.
Rights groups and exiles argue that it is not a yearning for a separate state, but rather anger at Chinese control on the religion and culture of the Uighurs that is at the root of the unrest in Xinjiang.
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