1 Militant Killed, 8 Others Arrested in Central Sulawesi: Indonesian Police

Keisyah Aprilia
Palu, Indonesia
170310_ID_Sulawesi_1000.jpg A police officer in Palu, Central Sulawesi, shows a weapon found in a river earlier this month and that was linked to MIT member Basri (also known as Bagong), who was arrested last year, March 6, 2017.
Keisyah Aprilia/BenarNews

Authorities in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province killed a suspected militant and arrested eight others in separate raids Friday, including six men who were allegedly planning to bomb a local police station, police said.

During one of the raids elite police counter-terrorist squad Densus 88 fatally shot a suspect identified by authorities only by his initials, L.S, as he was resisting arrest in Parigi Moutong regency, sources said. Officers seized evidence including a motorcycle.

Two alleged associates, identified as L.N. and I.R., were captured nearby at around 11 a.m. on the Trans-Sulawesi Highway connecting North and South Sulawesi provinces, a police source told BenarNews on condition of anonymity.

The arrest came shortly after Densus 88 arrested six other suspected militants, in a house in Tolitoli, a regency about 428 km (266 miles) north of Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi province, at 8:30 a.m.

“They are allegedly part of the Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT),” a local police officer said, referring to an armed militant group based in Poso, Central Sulawesi that had pledged allegiance to the extremist group Islamic State (IS).

The six allegedly planned to join the others in bombing the Parigi Moutong police office.

“In addition, they also planned to attack police officers who were guarding banks in the district,” another police source said.

Police seized bomb-making materials including fertilizer, sulfur, charcoal, nails and denatured alcohol.

Central Sulawesi Police spokesman Hari Suprapto confirmed the arrests to BenarNews.

“True, there were arrests; six in Tolitoli and three in Parigi Moutong,” Hari said. He did not verify reports about potential links to MIT or that one of the suspects had been killed.

“We will not be able to comment right now on the linkage to MIT, including about the seized evidence in the arrest,” he said, “When we have all the data, we will inform you.”

Operation Tinombala Task Force, a joint police and military operation involving about 2,000 personnel, has been hunting for remaining MIT members in Poso, the hotbed of the militant group, since the killing of MIT leader Santoso (alias Abu Wardah) on July 18, 2016.

“In Poso there are still nine members (of MIT) on the police wanted list, including Ali Kalora. They still continue to be pursued,” Hari said, referring to the alleged current MIT leader.

M-16 rifle

Central Sulawesi Police Chief Brig. Gen. Rudy Sufahriadi, confirmed that Operation Tinombala had resulted in the discovery in a river in Poso of an M-16 rifle thought to be owned by Basri (alias Bagong), one of the top MIT members who was arrested in September.

“The weapon was found on Saturday, March 4, at about 5:10 p.m. at the bottom of Puna river, Gantinadi hamlet, Tangkura village, in Poso Pesisir,” he said, adding the weapon was in a good condition and police also found 20 bullets.

He said locals had spotted the weapon but left it in the river because they were afraid to touch it.


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