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 Santoso group cornered, one killed in shoot-out

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BerichtOnderwerp: Santoso group cornered, one killed in shoot-out   di 1 maa 2016 - 3:51

The Jakarta Post, March 1 2016

Following the death of two suspected couriers for the East Indonesia Mujahidin (MIT) on Feb. 9, members of the Central Sulawesi-based terrorist group are reported to have been cornered as they are running out of supplies, while military and police personnel in a joint security operation called Operation Tinombala managed to narrow their space of movement.

The group, led by Santoso, who is believed to also be a leader of the radical Islamic State (IS) movement in Indonesia, is reportedly beginning to leave its hideout in a forested area of Poso regency in search of food.

On Friday, dozens of MIT members reportedly entered neighborhoods in the districts of Lore Peore and Central Lore to stock up on supplies.

They took a number of residents hostage as security insurance while browsing the neighborhoods.

A group of police and military personnel chased them down to their hideout, resulting in an exchange of fire.

One member of the terrorist group was reportedly killed, but the body has not yet been removed, due to the danger for security forces to enter the location.

Central Sulawesi Police spokesperson Adj. Sr. Comr. Hari Suprapto confirmed the incident, but provided no further details.

“That’s true. Crossfire emerged and one terrorist was reportedly killed in the incident,” he said on Monday.

Hari added that the MIT members involved in the crossfire numbered between 20 and 31. They promptly dispersed after the crossfire.

An intelligence source told The Jakarta Post that two residents had been taken hostage on Feb. 24 by a number of men at their coffee plantation in Watutau subdistrict.

One of the hostage-takers introduced himself as Andika. He was described as long-haired, skinny and wearing camouflage pants and white rubber shoes. Two of the other men apparently carried rifles, and three wore masks to cover their faces.

At about 3 p.m., one of the farmers asked permission to go home, arguing that it was about to rain. The suspected terrorists let him go and stayed at the hut near the plantation, while grilling cassava.

Upon receiving information about the group, the security personnel surrounded the location on Sunday evening, before engaging in the crossfire that lasted until Monday morning.

After the crossfire, the team swept the area and found a body believed to be that of a member of the Santoso-led group.

Hari did not deny or confirm the information, adding that the troops had found, among other things, three homemade rifles, a walkie-talkie, a GPS device, 15 homemade bombs and 20 sacks of rice.

“The rice was promptly burnt down at the location,” he said.

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