Arrests set police on Santoso's trail in Central Sulawesi

Violence persists in the province as authorities hunt the country's most wanted terrorist.

By M. Taufan S.P. Bustan and M. Darlis for Khabar Southeast Asia in

March 07, 2014
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Central Sulawesi police arrested two men with suspected links to Indonesia's most wanted militant, thanks to a tip from local residents.

  • A Central Sulawesi Brimob team works a February 24th bomb attack site at the Graha Pena office building in Palu. No one was hurt. [M. Taufan SP Bustan/Khabar]

    A Central Sulawesi Brimob team works a February 24th bomb attack site at the Graha Pena office building in Palu. No one was hurt. [M. Taufan SP Bustan/Khabar]

Police nabbed the suspects along with a homemade bomb, a pistol and bullets, in a hut on the side of Tamanjeka mountain late Monday (March 3rd). Residents of nearby Kilo village reported seeing men walking around the village with weapons, Antara reported.

The report led to a shootout between police and ten to 15 armed men in which two local Brimob officers were injured.

The two men, Rodik and Aji, are suspected couriers for Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) commander Santoso. Police hope they will provide information leading to the capture of the MIT commander, Antara quoted officials as saying.

"Following the arrest of the two men, we may be able to find where the group members have been hiding in the forest," National Police Chief Sutarman said in Jakarta.

Vote to be heard: Poso residents

Poso residents urge authorities to improve regional security, and for fellow citizens to vote.

"We want the government to be aware of the local politics in Poso and make sure that people's voices have been heard. This coming election is a chance," local resident Taufik Hidayanto said. "It can make a difference in Poso."

Authorities also need to step up their counterterrorism efforts, fellow Poso resident Ahmadi Rusdi said.

"The threat has continued even though many of them [terrorists] have already been arrested," Ahmadi, 45, told Khabar. "Who knows what they are capable of doing? I hope the various approaches, such as a deradicalisation programme, can be effective in reducing terrorist attacks."

Residents on edge

Extremists previously attacked provincial police and terrorised residents with a series of violent incidents.

On February 24th, unknown assailants hurled a homemade bomb at Palu's Graha Pena office building, which houses the Radar Sulteng newspaper and Radar TV station.

No one was hurt in the incident, local officials said. Nevertheless, the explosion forced hundreds of Radar employees to evacuate.

"I had just entered the security office for a few minutes before the explosion occurred," Purnamo, a building security guard, told Khabar.

"The explosion sounded like a bomb and caused a thick smoke and strong smell," he added. "I had to run to help rescue employees from the building."

Reader Comments
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    • agustarmokusuma
      May 15, 2014 @ 10:05:16AM
    • Terrorism can be eradicated with the help of people who are experienced in dealing with this issue. For instance, by requesting the aid from the developed countries. Thank you.
    • tabroni
      May 1, 2014 @ 12:05:14AM
    • When law is truly enforced, Indonesia can be just and prosperous. What should the people of Indonesia expect when law is not impartial? Do not hope that Indonesia can be just and prosperous.
    • Jeki
      March 20, 2014 @ 03:03:01AM
    • As long as radicals continue to exist in Indonesia do not hope for peace to be established.
    • mbahtejo
      March 12, 2014 @ 08:03:00AM
    • Very helpful. Very helpful and caring.
    • Ashari
      March 6, 2014 @ 11:03:49PM
    • The important thing is not fighting terrorism, but to also create job opportunities for all members of society, to keep them busy. Those who are idle may be looking for something to do with the exception of those who are still true to their faith. Create good job opportunities for all members of our society.

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