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Jakarta Post

East Indonesia Mujahidin running out of food

  • Ruslan Sangadji

    The Jakarta Post

Poso, Central Sulawesi   /   Sun, April 3, 2016   /  02:52 pm
East Indonesia Mujahidin running out of food It’s lunch time – A picture released by the 2016 Operation Tinombala Task Force shows a man identified as Santoso (pictured) holding a maleo, a bird that is native to Sulawesi. (Courtesy of the 2016 Operation Tinombala Task Force/Ruslan Sangadji)

The East Indonesia Mujahidin terror group, led by Santoso, alias Abu Wardah, Indonesia’s most wanted man, has reportedly begun to run out of food in the forests of Lembah Napu, Poso, Central Sulawesi.

Pictures and video footage recently released by the 2016 Operation Tinombala Task Force deployed to pursue Santoso and his men indicate that the terrorists are now facing a chronic shortage of food.   

One of the pictures released shows a man, identified as Santoso, holding a maleo, or a large megapode native to Sulawesi Island.

Another picture shows several men, believed to be Santoso’s followers, removing the skin of a cuscus, a protected animal native to Sulawesi, in a forest suspected to be Lore Lindu National Park.

In another picture, Santoso and his men are seen eating a midget buffalo, locally known as anoa, which is also listed as an endangered species.  

The pictures and video footage were obtained from several pieces of evidence, including mobile phones and cameras, that security personnel confiscated after shootouts with the group in several locations in Poso Pesisir and Lembah Napu.

A man involved in Operation Tinombala, who wished to remain anonymous, said the terror group had been living in forests and mountains across Poso since 2013.

Desperation -- A man, believed to be a member of Santoso's terror group, holds a cuscus. (Courtesy of the 2016 Operation Tinombala Task Force/Ruslan Sangadji)

All that time, Santoso’s terrorists obtained food from couriers living in villages and cities. They also robbed local residents in villages to fulfill their basic needs.

It is also reported that Santoso’s group has been forced to eat wild plants growing in the forests such as rattan sprouts and the tips of areca nut trees.

“They steal harvest yields from local people. They steal corn, gourd, cabbages and beans,” Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Rudy Sufahriadi said.

Such a condition, Rudy said, showed that Santoso’s group was facing difficulties in obtaining staple foods. Its movements are limited as Operation Tinombala personnel have managed to isolate the terror group.

“This is why they now depend on resources in the forests,” said Rudy. (ebf)


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