Jakarta Globe/AFP January 04, 2013
Makassar. Police shot dead two suspected terrorists during a raid in Makassar on Friday.
An eyewitness, who requested to remain anonymous, said he saw four men standing on the veranda of the Nurul Afiat Mosque inside Makassar’s Wahidin Sudirohusodo Hospital complex when a group of armed men with the National Police’s anti-terror squad, Densus 88, fired shots in their direction.
One of the four men died at the scene, while another one was injured. Two others fled the scene.
The chief of the local Tamalanrea Police precinct, Comr. Amiruddin, said the men who were injured later died, and police were now hunting for the other two suspects.
Remains of the two dead men have been admitted to Bhayangkara Hospital in Makassar, Indonesian news portal kompas.com reported.
The men were allegedly part of a network that killed six officers last year in the island’s restive Poso district, national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said.
The two — Syamsuddin alias Aswah alias Abu Uswah, 34, and Ahmad Kholil alias Hasan, 35 — were carrying a handgun and grenades when they were shot.
They had “tried to pull out their gun”, national police spokesman Boy Rafli told reporters.
“In the process of arresting the men, the police were forced to shoot to immobilize them,” he said.
Amar said the men were linked to the country’s most wanted terror suspect, Santoso, who police believe leads the militant group and set up a paramilitary training camp in the Poso mountains.
The two men had been police targets since November when members of the group were arrested for throwing a pipe bomb at the South Sulawesi provincial governor while he was giving a speech, Amar said.
Police have said Santoso’s group is believed to have trained scores of young militants to assemble rifles and launch guerrilla attacks against police officers.
Police have beefed up security in the area since late last year after two police officers investigating the camp were found dead and buried in a hole with their throats slit, and several small bomb plots were subsequently foiled.
Poso was the site of sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians between the late 1990s and mid-2000s that left thousands dead.
Indonesia was rocked by a series of deadly terror attacks targeted at Westerners last decade, with most — including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people — blamed on the al-Qaeda-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah.
But a crackdown on terrorism has weakened key militant groups and only low-impact attacks have been carried out in recent years by networks targeting law enforcement officers.