Poso residents: end the bloodshed

The gunmen who fired on a Brimob unit were part of Santoso's Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT), authorities say.

By Maeswara Palupi for Khabar Southeast Asia in Poso, Central Sulawesi

February 25, 2014
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Gunmen who killed a police officer during a February 6th firefight in the mountains of Central Sulawesi belonged to a terrorist network led by Santoso, Indonesia's most wanted Islamic militant, investigators said.

  • Officers prepare to transport the remains of policeman Putu Satria Wibawa to Poso airport for a flight to his hometown on Bali. Wibawa died during a February 6th gun battle with militants in Poso District. [M. Taufan S.P. Bustan/Khabar]

    Officers prepare to transport the remains of policeman Putu Satria Wibawa to Poso airport for a flight to his hometown on Bali. Wibawa died during a February 6th gun battle with militants in Poso District. [M. Taufan S.P. Bustan/Khabar]

Officer Putu Satria Wibawa, a member of the Poso Mobile Brigade (Brimob) corps, was fatally shot near a suspected militant training ground.

"The gun fight occurred at the Tounca village, Poso District, not far from the militant camp. The incident happened while the police were patrolling the area," Central Sulawesi Police Chief Ari Dono Sukmanto told Khabar Southeast Asia in a phone interview.

In the skirmish police shot dead one of two suspected militants, Ari said, arresting the second man, identified as Fandi. Police had yet to identify the dead suspect.

"We seized a rifle and explosive materials," Ari added.

"We do not want more blood"

Central Sulawesi has a difficult history. From 1998 to 2002, as many as 1,000 people died in sectarian-based bloodletting between Muslims and Christians. More recently, militants have been operating training camps in the area and have targeted local police in serial attacks.

In late 2012, militants gunned down six officers in separate shootings around Poso. And on June 3rd, 2013, militants launched a suicide bomb attack on a Poso police station in which no one was hurt.

Santoso, who heads the Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) police blame for the bombing, is believed to be operating from the province's jungles.

Poso resident Muhammad Priyanto urged authorities to do more to safeguard the district's people.

"Santoso is one of the most wanted terrorists in Indonesia, and he is currently still on the loose, Priyanto, 33, told Khabar.

Priyanto and other locals who endured religious violence in the past are now afraid of terrorism, Priyanto said.

"I witnessed many of those killings and when I remember it, I still feel traumatised," he said. "Poso needs extra security."

For his part, Poso cleric Syariffudin Ahkmad condemned Wibawa's killing, saying it was important for locals to be vigilant. The district remains fragile and extremists could use terrorist attacks to re-ignite sectarian tensions, he told Khabar.

"We do not want more blood," Syariffudin said. "We have sacrificed enough."

Reader Comments
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    • Lukman Hakim
      May 1, 2014 @ 11:05:57AM
    • We cannot make light of implementing policies that have serious consequences.
      April 29, 2014 @ 11:04:00AM
    • Yes I agree, our leader must be firm and courageous. The people are sick of suffering. Prabowo Subianto is the right one for this nation.
    • jull
      April 29, 2014 @ 10:04:32AM
    • All terrorists do is damage the nation and country's way of life. Eradicate them down to their roots, they think what they're doing is jihad but it is a misguided jihad.
    • samuel
      April 28, 2014 @ 10:04:02PM
    • They should change their ways and think on whether killing is justified by Islam.
    • prambos tampubolon
      April 28, 2014 @ 04:04:22AM
    • The government should be wise and exercise prudence in dealing with the problems faced by Indonesia because it will affect the lives of many people. The victims will not only be police but civilians will also fall victim and it would disrupt the peace in the lives of many people.
    • gus har
      April 18, 2014 @ 09:04:51PM
    • Stay strong and continue to enforce security.
    • supriadi
      April 14, 2014 @ 01:04:34AM
    • Only Allah is permitted to take the lives of His people.
    • Hendri Alfredyanto
      April 10, 2014 @ 03:04:33AM
    • I am certain that the issues in Poso will die down if Mr. Prabowo Subianto becomes the leader of this country.
    • shenyo
      April 6, 2014 @ 09:04:57PM
    • Never falter in fighting terrorism.
    • bambang
      April 5, 2014 @ 04:04:56AM
    • To optimize the process, the TNI and Indonesian Police should join forces to maintain security, comfort, and order in the country.
    • Harry Sudjikianto
      April 3, 2014 @ 04:04:31AM
    • Killing people for any reason is forbidden and will bring down wrath and severe retribution from God.
    • bangun
      March 31, 2014 @ 02:03:55AM
    • Don't let a tiny issue become a large one. Finish off these troublemakers.
    • LIANO
      March 25, 2014 @ 01:03:23AM
    • The central government must deal with this using a humane strategy.
    • nur siani
      April 3, 2014 @ 03:04:35AM
    • Yes, that is very true, the central government must deal with it using a humane strategy. This will ease the minds of the public.
    • prapto widodo
      March 17, 2014 @ 01:03:29PM
    • The peace-loving people of Poso, whatever their religion, should share information with Indonesian intelligence. Don't wait for this country to be destroyed by terrorism and the like.
    • nazwardo
      March 9, 2014 @ 02:03:32PM
    • Hopefully the Indonesian Police will maximize its intelligence so that all forms of terrorism and violence can be quickly neutralized. God willing.
    • shanti priya
      April 3, 2014 @ 03:04:37AM
    • The government should be firm in commanding the Indonesian Police to keep the citizens of Indonesia away from unwanted incidents. Amen.
    • mustain
      March 8, 2014 @ 08:03:05AM
    • We need to be alert.
    • sarina mangkusumah
      April 3, 2014 @ 03:04:07AM
    • In a tsunami-prone region.
    • iyon wahyono
      February 27, 2014 @ 08:02:51AM
    • Hopefully peace will come to the island of a thousand nickels.
    • JUMRI
      February 26, 2014 @ 08:02:04AM
    • I am very happy!
    • Frankie
      February 25, 2014 @ 09:02:55PM
    • One piece of evidence amongst many is that the death sentence for Tibo and company is a big mistake. It is their opponents who are organized and act based on a concept in the Poso riots. To this day the extremist fighters are still based there, the government needs to intensify efforts in bringing order to this region.

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