New group detected in terrorist hotbed of Central Sulawesi
Police patrol in Gantinadi village, Poso, Central Sulawesi, in 2016. (ANTARA/Zainuddin MN) ★
Security authorities suspect a new group is aiming to carry out terror acts in Central Sulawesi, which was also the home of the notorious East Indonesia Mujahidin (MIT) terrorist group.
Indications of a new group were revealed recently when security personnel intercepted a man named Samsuriyadi, aka Sham. He told security officers that several men from Toboli in Parigi Moutong regency as well as Poso and Tolitoli regencies in Central Sulawesi, and Mamuju regency in West Sulawesi, had weapons that could be used to conduct terror attacks.
According to an intelligence report received by The Jakarta Post, the group has been mapping Central Sulawesi over the past month.
Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Rudy Sufahriadi refused to comment on the findings.
He confirmed, however, that Operation Tinombala Task Force members found an M-16 rifle at the bottom of the Puna River in Poso Pesisir. The weapon was believed to be owned by Basri, aka Bagong, one of the top members of the MIT group who surrendered last year.
Meanwhile, Merdeka Military Command commander Maj. Gen. Ganip Warsito said on Tuesday that the military had detected that several people from the southern Philippines had entered the province.
He did not provide details but said the military had heightened security as a precaution.
Poso is a hotbed of terrorist activity and last year hosted a large-scale joint police and military operation with more than 3,500 personnel under Operation Tinombala tasked with hunting for members of the MIT, lead by the late terrorist Santoso, aka Abu Wardah. (rin)