The Indonesian anti-terrorism agency’s crackdown on an organization accused of staging armed robberies to fund acts of terror in Central Sulawesi continued on Monday as agents engaged in a fire fight with a fleeing suspect, killing the man on a Poso street.
Densus 88 agents closed in on Nudin, an alleged member of fugitive terrorist Santoso’s East Indonesia Mujahideen network, Monday afternoon, National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said. Nudin, who also goes by the name Bondan, attempted to flee the scene on motorcycle, speeding down Jalan Pulau Irian before colliding with a car. When agents approached the man, he opened fire, Boys said.
“When he was about to get arrested, he shot at a Densus member,” Boy said. “That personnel shot back and caused the suspect to die.”
A handgun and six bullets were recovered from the man’s body, he said.
Nudin was allegedly behind several terrorist attacks in Poso and Central Java. He was also involved with training and funding another group in Bima, Sumbawa island, Boy said.
Indonesian police began tightening their grip on the restive district of Poso after several high profile attacks against officers and the discovery of terrorist training camps pushed the conflict-prone region into the spotlight. Security officials call Poso a hotbed of domestic terrorism, pointing to evidence that Santoso, former military member Sabar Subagyo and terrorist Basri are all operating in the region.
Once the scene of a two-year sectarian conflict that left thousands dead or injured, Poso has struggled to overcome a history of religious violence. Members of the now-disbanded militant group Laksar Jihad rampaged through a belt of predominately Christian villages in the early 2000s, setting fire to homes and sending residents fleeing.
In recent years, the Islamic radical groups have turned their attentions to Indonesian police, setting off bombs outside police stations and murdering several officers. On June 3, the Poso Police headquarters was rocked by a suicide bombing that left one injured. The bombing, which was allegedly done by an East Indonesia Mujahideen member, was likely meant as revenge for a series of raids that arrested some 30 suspect terrorists and left more than a dozen dead, police said at the time.
Muslim groups have called for the disbanding of Densus 88 after a video of the Australian-funded anti-terrorism squad allegedly torturing suspects hit YouTube. But incidents like last suicide attack should remind Indonesians of terrorism’s threat, a Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker said.
“The Poso police-station bombing should be a reminder that terrorism remains a serious threat for Muslims in Indonesia,” Eva Kusuma Sundari, a member of House Commission III, which oversees legal affairs said.