JAKARTA In­done­sia cap­tures key IS-linked mil­i­tant

The Myanmar Times - - World -

IN­DONE­SIAN se­cu­rity forces yes­ter­day cap­tured a se­nior mem­ber of an Is­lamic State-linked mil­i­tant net­work once headed by the coun­try’s most wanted ex­trem­ist, po­lice said.

Muham­mad Basri, from the East­ern In­done­sia Mu­jahideen, was caught in a joint op­er­a­tion be­tween the po­lice and mil­i­tary in Poso dis­trict, on rugged Su­lawesi is­land, while another mem­ber of the group was shot dead.

“He was caught on Poso’s south coast this morn­ing,” po­lice spokesper­son Boy Rafli Amar said, adding he had been taken to a nearby city.

It came two months af­ter the group’s leader and In­done­sia’s most wanted ex­trem­ist, San­toso, was shot dead by troops, end­ing a years-long hunt for the Is­lamic State (IS) group sup­porter.

His death was a ma­jor vic­tory for author­i­ties in the world’s most pop­u­lous Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­try. San­toso and his group were re­spon­si­ble for deadly at­tacks on do­mes­tic se­cu­rity forces and had trained mil­i­tants from around the ar­chi­pel­ago.

Basri had been the deputy leader of the East­ern In­done­sia Mu­jahideen, which has been hid­ing out in the jun­gles of Su­lawesi for years but now has just a hand­ful of mem­bers.

He was seen as a suc­ces­sor to San­toso, although it is not clear if he had of­fi­cially taken over lead­er­ship of the group.

Af­ter In­done­sia suf­fered a string of Is­lamic ex­trem­ist at­tacks in the early 2000s, in­clud­ing the 2002 Bali bomb­ings that killed more than 200 peo­ple, author­i­ties launched a crack­down that weak­ened the most dan­ger­ous net­works.

But San­toso re­peat­edly evaded at­tempts to cap­ture or kill him, with the long-haired, gun-tot­ing mil­i­tant reg­u­larly ap­pear­ing in videos urg­ing ex­trem­ists to launch at­tacks.

The pic­ture changed re­cently, with other IS-linked cells on the main is­land of Java con­sid­ered a greater threat. –

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