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Jakarta Post

High hopes for police generals to capture most-wanted Santoso

  • Ruslan Sangadji

    The Jakarta Post

Palu   /   Fri, March 18, 2016   /  02:26 pm
High hopes for police generals to capture most-wanted Santoso

National Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) officers prepare at the Central Sulawesi Police headquarters to join thousands of other police and Indonesian Military (TNI) personnel in Operation Tinombala to capture most-wanted terrorist Santoso and his fellow East Indonesia Mujahidin (MIT) terrorist group members.( Sangadji)

Residents and authorities in Central Sulawesi are resting their hopes on the shoulders of the newly appointed Central Sulawesi Police chief and National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) head for the capture of most-wanted terrorist Santoso and his armed group members, to put an end to terrorism in Poso and other areas in the province.

People have died and billions of rupiah has been allocated to track down Santoso aka Abu Wardah, the leader of the East Indonesia Mujahidin (MIT) terrorist group. Santoso and his followers, who are believed to be behind several attacks on police officers in Poso and other parts of Central Sulawesi, remain at large as the manhunt launched last year continues.

Governor Longki Djanggola said the provincial administration fully supported counterterrorism efforts in Poso and had faith in newly appointed Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Rudy Sufahriadi and BNPT chief Insp. Gen Tito Karnavian to settle terror issues in Poso.

Rudy, previously a director at the BNPT, was inaugurated by National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti on March 10, while President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo inaugurated former Jakarta Police chief and antiterrorism specialist Tito on Wednesday.

"We hope investors can enter Poso without fear," he told on Thursday.

He praised Rudy, saying he was the right man to lead the joint mission to capture Santoso dubbed Operation Tinombala

Rudy previously served as Poso Police chief and was an officer with the National Police's Densus 88 antiterror squad.

Operation Tinombala was extended in March for another six months after its launch in January, as MIT members in hiding in Poso'€™s forests. The operation involves more than 2,000 police and Indonesian Military (TNI) elite troops.

Besides leading the hunt for Santoso, Rudy also aims to implement a deradicalization program  to combat terrorism.

"Santoso and his radical teachings are equally dangerous. So before we implement deradicalization programs, we must take down Santoso," Rudy said.

During his tenure as Poso Police chief in 2005, two alleged armed terrorists on a motorbike fired shots at Rudy. The shots missed but Rudy said he was able to identify the attackers as Yono Sayur aka Hiban and Enal Tau. The latter was shot dead in a shoot-out with Densus 88 in Aceh while Yono Sayur is believed to be with Santoso'€™s group in the Poso forests.

Rudy also praised the appointment of Tito as BNPT chief as they both aimed to tackle terrorism.

"I am sure Tito as BNPT chief will really be helpful in the arrest of Santoso and the implementation of a deradicalization program in Poso," he said, adding that he expected Tito to visit Poso soon.

Most-wanted terrorists

Meanwhile, the Central Sulawesi Police released on Thursday an updated list of names and photos of suspected terrorists believed to be members of MIT.

Thirty-seven suspects are listed, including three women and three suspects who have died.  Hailing from Poso are Santoso, Basri aka Bagong, Ali Kalora, Mukhtar, Tamar aka Jumri, Iban aka Jainuddin aka Yono Sayur, Kohar aka Muti, Hilal aka Andika, Ikrima aka Aco, Kobar aka Nanung, Samil aka Nunung and Akil, Rudy said.

Listed from Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, are Rangga aka Barok, Askar aka Jaid aka Teacher, Farel aka Qatar, Yada aka Anto aka Tiger, Alim, Romji, Galuh, Salman, Ibad aka Amru, Kholid, Jumiatun Muslim aka Bunga aka Umi Delima (Santoso's wife) and Nurmi Usman (Basri's wife).

Hailing from Java are  Dodo aka Ponda, Yazid, Ahmad, Akil, Fakih and Saad. Dodo was shot dead in a shoot-out with security officers in Torire Village, Central Lore subdistrict, Poso, on Feb. 28.

Six others are Uighurs from China, Rudy said. They are Joko, Ibrohim, Mus'ab aka Nuretin, Faruq Magalasi aka Faruq and Abdul, while the others have yet to be identified. Two of the foreigners were killed in a shoot-out with officers on March. 15. (rin)(+)

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