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Official: Key militant among those killed on Indonesia's Sulawesi this week

Official: Key militant among those killed on Indonesia's Sulawesi this week

A top Southeast Asian terrorist who attended an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan was killed along with 14 other militants during a battle on Sulawesi island this week, a security official said Friday.
The suspect _ an Indonesian identified as Mahmud _ was the second Afghan-trained militant killed this month on Sulawesi, which has seen a series of recent bloody attacks on Christians over the past two years.
Maj. Gen. Ansyaad Mbai said Mahmud and the other men killed Monday in central Sulawesi were members of Jemaah Islamiyah, or JI, the al-Qaida-linked terror group blamed for attacks and failed terror plots in Southeast Asia since 2000.
"They were JI, absolutely JI," Mbai told The Associated Press.
Mbai said Mahmud was among a group of Indonesians who trained in Afghanistan between 1989 and 1991. He lived in Malaysia until 2001, when he returned to Indonesia, said Mbai, who is the top anti-terror official at the security ministry.
Mbai dismissed criticism of police tactics by conservative Islamic groups and some lawmakers, who have accused officers of using excessive force. Some media reports said three of the dead were passers-by.
"They are not seeing the core problem here, which is terrorism and how to stop it," he said.
The operations on Sulawesi this month confirm the island's front-line status in the war against terrorism in the world's most populous Muslim nation.
Six years ago, Muslim and Christian gangs fought bloody battles that left about 1,000 people dead and attracted Islamic militants from all over Indonesia, many of them Jemaah Islamiyah members.
Over the past two years, the extremists have carried out a series of shootings, beheadings and bombings against Christian men, women and children, mostly seeking to avenge the deaths of Muslims during the earlier conflict.


Updated : 2021-04-12 15:54 GMT+08:00