East Indonesia Mujahideen militant group now down to 11 members

Members of the East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) terrorist group at their hiding place in the forests of Poso in Central Sulawesi.
Members of the East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) terrorist group at their hiding place in the forests of Poso in Central Sulawesi.PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST

JAKARTA - The East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) militant group hiding in Poso, Central Sulawesi, is now down to only 11 members, said the police.

This after security forces confirmed that the militant killed on Monday (Sept 19) was Adji Pandu Suwotomo, a member of the MIT, which was once led by Indonesia's most wanted terrorist, Santoso.

"There are now 11 people left and they are hiding in the Poso forest," said Hari Suprapto  the spokesman for Operation Tinombala, the mission to capture members of the MIT, in a Tempo news report on Tuesday.

Adji, who also uses the alias Subron, was shot dead on Monday after he reached for a grenade when ordered to surrender by Tinombala troops.

He was on the run with MIT leader Basri and a small group of militants, including Basri's wife, last Wednesday, when they were ambushed by soldiers and police officers.

Basri and his wife surrendered to the troops but Adji managed to escape.

At its peak from 2013 to 2014, the MIT, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), was about 45-strong.

But with the arrest of Basri and his wife, as well as the deaths of Adji and Andika Eka Putra alias Hilal, who died from a fall, the MIT is now less than a quarter of its original strength.

Remnants of the group are now believed to be led by Ali Kalora, considered the third highest target of Tinombala troops after Basri and Santoso, who was killed in July.

wahyudis@sph.com.sg