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 Hunted Poso terror group includes new teenage recruits

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BerichtOnderwerp: Hunted Poso terror group includes new teenage recruits    do 9 apr 2015 - 0:24

The Jakarta Post, Palu, Thu, April 09 2015

Even while being hunted by the authorities, the Santoso and Daeng Koro terrorist groups in Poso, Central Sulawesi, had actively recruited new members, including teenagers, according to police findings.

Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Idham Azis said on Wednesday that the Poso-based Eastern Indonesia Mujahidin (MIT) group had recruited two underage children.

Both of them, who have yet to be identified, are currently being pursued by police after they fled following the death of Daeng Koro on April 3 in the Salumpangi mountainous region, in Sakina Jaya village, North Parigi, Parigi Moutong regency.

“They are estimated to be around 13 and 14 years old,” said Idham.

He added that based on video and photos found on Daeng Koro’s cellphone, the MIT group is still recruiting new members.

In the video released by the Central Sulawesi Police, Daeng Koro is seen training the two teenagers in kickboxing in a forest in Poso.

The police also released photographs of Daeng Koro from year to year, including a photo with his wife and three children who were holding an M-16 rifle and revolver with a flag representing the Islamic State (IS) movement in the background.

The police’s Densus 88 counterterrorism unit’s deputy commander Sr. Comr. Martinus Hukom said that based on the findings, the police would summon Daeng Koro’s wife Nurjannah to inquire about the firearms.

“We are likely to name her as a suspect, especially if she knows about the firearms,” said Martinus.

He added the recruitment process was associated with the edict from terrorist convict and spiritual leader of the region’s extremist network, Abu Bakar Ba’syir, to his followers, calling on any of them who could not join IS and the war in Syria to join the Santoso group in Poso.

According to Martinus, the MIT group in Poso has become part of IS, as one of its leaders was currently in Syria, serving as an MIT liaison officer for IS.

“MIT members led by Daeng Koro have been trained well in combat skills as they are also prepared to join IS troops,” said Martinus.

Idham said the police would soon summon Nurjannah. However, as she is currently heavily pregnant, the police would likely question her after the birth.

Idham added that Daeng Koro’s family in Malino village, Soyo Jaya district, North Morowali regency, would be specifically monitored because nearly all his relatives were part of the group.

Separately, Central Sulawesi Police medical division head Adj. Sr. Comr. Dr. Sucipto said after carrying out thorough DNA tests, the police had confirmed that the body of a terror suspect killed in the April 3 shoot-out was that of Daen Koro.

Sucipto said his division had taken DNA samples from Daeng Koro’s child and disclosed that Daeng Koro’s DNA profile matched with that of a child he had with Nurjannah.

The coleader of the MIT, Daeng Koro, alias Sabar Subagyo, was considered more dangerous than Santoso. As a former member of the military with an understanding of war strategy and weapons, his death has reduced the terrorist group’s power.

Koro’s death has also reportedly caused distress for Santoso and his men, who remain at large and are being hunted by the police. Much of the group’s equipment, including communication devices, guns and ammunition, has also been seized by the police.

Cornered and starved of supplies, members of the Santoso-led militant group have reportedly resorted to demanding food from residents in Palu, Central Sulawesi.

According to the police,the Santoso and Daeng Koro groups were two separate terrorist groups, but both were part of the same fighter group that had been terrorizing Poso.

The group led by Daeng Koro had between 10 and 15 men, while the one under Santoso’s leadership had about 20.

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