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 As Search for Terror Fugitive Winds Down, Police Claim Success – to a Degree

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BerichtOnderwerp: As Search for Terror Fugitive Winds Down, Police Claim Success – to a Degree   vr 8 jan 2016 - 14:31

From the Jakarta Globe, Friday 8 Jan 2016,

Jakarta. The Indonesian police chief has played down the force’s failure to capture the country’s most-wanted terror fugitive, despite dedicating more than a thousand personnel to a year-long hunt that officially ends on Saturday.

Gen. Badrodin Haiti, the National Police chief, said that Operation Camar Maleo, aimed at rooting out Santoso and members of his East Indonesia Mujahidin (MIT) organization from the jungles around Poso, Central Sulawesi, had been successful in whittling down the militants’ ranks.

“Twenty-eight individuals [linked to the group] have been caught, including some of its leaders,” he told reporters in Jakarta on Friday.

Police have arrested 21 people with suspected links to Santoso or his organization, and shot dead another seven in a series of standoffs – including Daeng Koro, Santoso’s second-in-command and a police deserter, who was killed in a shootout in April 2015 with operatives from Densus 88, the police’s counterterrorism squad.

Badrodin said police were considering various options once Operation Camar Maleo ends on Saturday, including whether to extend it; delegate the job to the provincial police; or change tactics in the hunt for the country’s highest-profile terror suspect and one who has publicly pledged allegiance to the Sunni militant group Islamic State.

“Whatever course of action we take next, whether led by national or regional security forces, all that matters is that it is effective,” he said.

Badrodin also emphasized that while Santoso was the main target, the police’s aim was ultimately to disable the entire MIT organization.

“Even if we capture him, that doesn’t mean our job has ended. Because once Santoso’s [gone], someone else will appear in his place. That’s how these terrorist groups operate,” he said.

More than a thousand police and military personnel have been deployed to Poso and surrounding areas since January last year in a constant series of raids to root out Santoso and his group, which today is believed to number around 30 individuals.

The operation has left two police officers and one soldier dead. Thirteen of the 21 suspected militants captured alive have been indicted on various charges; several have been convicted.


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