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Jakarta Post

Suspected terrorist shot dead in South Sulawesi

  • Andi Hajramurni

    The Jakarta Post

Makassar   /   Sun, January 11, 2015   /  09:15 am

A suspected terrorist linked to the Santoso gang was killed on Saturday morning by officers of the National Police'€™s Densus 88 counterterrorism unit in Tanalili district in North Luwu, South Sulawesi.

South Sulawesi Police chief Insp. Gen. Anton Setiadji said the suspect, identified as Ilham Syafii, resisted arrest, leading to a shoot-out with officers from Densus 88 and the provincial police.

Ilham died at the scene and his body was taken to Andi Mappaoddang Police Hospital in Makassar.

Police confiscated a 9-millimeter Browning Hi Power semi-automatic handgun, five bullets, a folding knife and a cellphone at the scene.

Anton said Ilham was a resident of a restive area of Poso, Central Sulawesi and alleged that he was part of a terrorist group in the region led by Santoso.

Ilham '€œwas part of the Poso network; he was a courier. He went from Poso to North Luwu to hide,'€ Anton told The Jakarta Post.

Anton said Ilham had been targeted by Densus 88 for a long time. Knowing he was being sought, Ilham escaped into a local plantation in Beringin '€” some 400 kilometers from the provincial capital of Makassar '€” before he was tracked down.

North Luwu regency is on the South and Central Sulawesi border and around two hours by road from Poso.

The Central Sulawesi Police, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police are currently conducting a manhunt for around 20 members of the armed Santoso gang in the jungles of Poso in the Napu Plateau area of East and North Lore.

Police have deployed around 170 officers to search for the men, all of whom are on the police'€™s most-wanted list.

Previously, members of the Santoso group allegedly conducted a suicide bombing at a police station in Poso regency, a drive-by shooting, killings and abductions.

The group is also said to be actively recruiting members, focusing on those economically marginalized or who suffered when the security apparatus cracked down on local residents during the Poso sectarian conflict from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s.

Earlier this week, Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen Idham Azis offered to talk with armed civilian groups, hoping to end the violence.

A foreigner has also been reported to be among Santoso'€™s followers, strengthening suspicions of the group'€™s connections to the Islamic State (IS) movement.

Police suspect that Santoso joined the IS movement and is receiving help from foreigners.

In September, police arrested seven suspected militants, including four thought to hail from Chinese Turkestan, in Parigi Moutong, Central Sulawesi, on their way to Poso. They were believed to be planning to join a terrorist group with possible links to IS.

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