Several military and police officials have said it is likely one of two militants killed in a gun battle as part of the Tinombala Operation in Poso, Central Sulawesi, was the country’s most wanted terrorist Santoso.
The body, allegedly Santoso, arrived at the police-owned Bhayangkara Hospital in Palu, Central Sulawesi, around 1 p.m. on Tuesday (19/07).
The two fugitives were killed in a shoot out with joint military personnel in Tambrana Village, Poso, Central Sulawesi, on Monday afternoon.
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said he is “95 percent sure” that Santoso was one of the two killed, he told reporters at the State Palace.
The other suspect has been identified as Mochtar, a lieutenant in Santoso’s group, Tito said.
Separately in Palu, Tinombala Operation chief Sr. Comr. Leo Bona Lubis said three of Santoso relatives have identified the body as that of Santoso.
“This is just according to physical identification. We will confirm it after forensic test,” said Leo Bona Lubis.
The Timombala Operation will not be suspended or ended following the death, with 30 teams still deployed to pursue the remaining militants, he said.
Police have estimated another 19 Santoso followers remain in the hilly jungles of Poso, including two women and a man who escaped the Monday gun battle.
National Intelligence Agency chief Sutiyoso said the group will likely launch a counter attack on police and military personnel following the death of Santoso.