Indonesian militant suspected to be from ISIS-linked terror group in Poso killed

JAKARTA - Indonesian security forces on Monday (Sept 19) shot and killed a terrorist, believed to be a member of the East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT), a militant group once headed by Indonesia's most wanted terrorist Santoso.

Indonesian troops involved in Operation Tinombala, whose mission is to capture members of the MIT in Poso, Central Sulawesi, were forced to fire on the suspect, reported Tempo news on Monday.

"The gun fight broke out at about 8.30 Central Indonesia Time in a plantation area in Tombua, Tangkura village," an unnamed member of the task force was quoted as saying.

He added that his squad, code-named Charlie 16, was patrolling along the plantation area of Tombua when they chanced upon the militant.

The suspect was gunned down as he reached for a grenade and shouted "God is great" in Arabic after he was ordered to raise his arms and surrender, said the officer, who asked not to be named.

The militant, who was wearing camouflage fatigues, was shot in the head and died instantly, he added. Troops later found four grenades and two machetes on the dead man.

The latest incident comes just days after security forces captured Basri, the militant who assumed command of the MIT after Santoso was killed in July.

Basri, also known as Bagong, was ambushed near a coastline in Poso last Wednesday while he was on the run with his wife, Nurmi Usman, alias Oma.

He did not resist arrest but another militant, named Sobron, managed to escape. Tinombala troops also found the body of another MIT fighter Andika Eka Putra along a river on that same day. Andika had apparently died from a fall.

At its peak, the MIT, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS),was about 45-strong. If the man shot dead on Monday is identified as a member of the MIT, the group would have been withered down to 11.

tkchan@sph.com.sg