The Jakarta Post, Palu Sat, January 05 2013,
Police in Parigi Moutong, some 150 kilometers east of Palu, Central Sulawesi, nabbed the remaining five out of seven members of a gang of armed robbers allegedly linked to the Poso terrorist network during a raid at their hideout in the area.
The seven alleged robbers were identified only by the initials R, Z, P, S, H, K and A. Two of them had been arrested prior to the raid.
Central Sulawesi police’s spokesperson Adj. Sr. Comr. Soemarno said that the five had tried to fight back using swords and homemade guns.
“We had to shoot them in parts of their bodies that were not lethal,” Soemarno told journalists on Friday.
The police were able to track the whereabouts of the armed robbers from the two previously arrested robbers. The five were from Palopo, South Sulawesi.
The police, according to Soemarno, also seized 15 cell phones, two laptops, a camera, two watches, Rp 6.1 million (US$632.12) in cash, gold jewelry, three homemade guns, six traditional knives and two motorcycles from the site.
The robbers were all transported to the Central Sulawesi police headquarters for further investigation.
They have been allegedly committing theft since 2012. In June, they robbed Rp 85 million from Bank Danamon in Parigi Moutong regency. Just last week, they were believed to have stolen Rp 250 million.
The police also linked the group with the armed civilian group in Poso, arguing that the robberies were committed to fund terror activities in Poso. “We still have to wait for the results of the investigation,” Soemarno said.
Poso suffered sectarian conflict from 1998-2000. The worst open conflict happened in 2000 during which over 2,000 people were reportedly killed or missing.
A meeting between the conflicting parties held in 2001 resulted in a peace agreement, known as the Malino Declaration, which ended communal conflict. Yet, armed civilian groups continue to terrorize the region.
As of 2012, a group called the Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) was believed to have built a camp in Gunung Biru, Tamanjeka and Northern Coastal Poso. They allegedly have been terrorizing Poso and killed four members of the police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) on Dec. 20, 2012, in Kalora, Northern Coastal Poso.