The police said on Saturday that its mission to wipe out a terrorist group in Poso, Central Sulawesi, had been successful over the past year. The police also said the operation would be extended to capture the group’s remaining members.
The commander of Operation Tinombala, Brig. Gen. Rudy Sufahriadi, said the joint police-military operation had resulted in the death of Santoso, the leader of the East Indonesia Muhajidin (MIT) and the country’s most wanted terrorist for years. The operation has also led to the neutralization of 32 members of the MIT, he added.
Rudy said 10 of the members had been captured alive while another 20 had been killed during firefights with officers. Another two were found dead.
“Although we’ve successfully neutralized Santoso, the operation will be resumed in 2017,” said Rudy, who is also Central Sulawesi Police chief.
“MIT is now led by Ali Kalora,” said Rudy.
The operation, which was initiated in 2015, had been extended several times because of the failure to capture Santoso. After he was shot dead in July, there were plans to terminate the mission.
But the police said the operation was still necessary to capture all remaining MIT members.
At least 19 operation personnel have passed away because of illness or firefights with members of the MIT.