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Security forces hunting Poso attack mastermind PALU - A joint police and military force are pursuing Mohamadong alias Ndang accused of masterminding a series of fresh attacks in Poso and the neighboring regency of Morowali, Central Sulawesi. Sources at Poso Police Station said on Monday that Ndang was a resident of Ampana subdistrict in Poso but he often moved to other places. Security forces have been tracking him after he was spotted in Lembo subdistrict, Morowali, they added.
Several suspects arrested after the attacks named Ndang as the planner of the Oct. 10 incident in Beteleme village, Morowali, that killed three Christians. Ndang is accused of providing weapons and ammunition to attack Beteleme. Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Taufik Ridha confirmed that his personnel were seeking the mastermind of the renewed attacks.
"We hope he will be captured alive in the near future, so the motive of the attacks and the source of the weapons and ammunition will be revealed," he said on Monday. Taufik said the police had arrested at least 11 of 17 outsiders blamed for the Beteleme raid and shot dead five others in shoot-outs. However, Ndang managed to flee into the jungle in Lembo subdistrict, he added. The police chief said the police also rounded up five locals accused of involvement in the attack.
From the detainees and those killed, the security forces seized two M-16s, three LA firearms, a number of FN pistols and 232 bullets. Those being held for perpetrating the Beteleme attacks are part of a network responsible for the pre-dawn raids on three mainly-Christian villages in Poso Kota subdistrict, which killed at least 10 people on Oct. 12, Taufik said. In Jakarta, Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the Indonesian Military (TNI) would deploy combat troops to assist security operations in Poso.
"We will launch operations intensively for six months there. After that, we will see what should be done next," he said. The chief security minister said the operations were needed to restore peace after the 2001 December peace deal between Christian and Muslim leaders, so that local people would not provoked into renewed sectarian fighting. "After learning from various evidence, I again say that the perpetrators are gunmen and this is a very serious case. We will send combat troops to hunt down those who are currently undergoing training in surrounding forests and mountainous areas."
Susilo said the attackers may be planning more raids. "Therefore, I have asked intelligence officers to keep working". However, he declined to disclose the group blamed for masterminding the fresh attacks, saying the police were questioning suspects and witnesses. Commenting on the planned six-month operation in Poso, military observer Rizal Sukma said it was an example of how the government tended to solve problems partially.
"The question is whether or not the operations are part of a comprehensive solution," he said. Rizal said conflicts of this nature required well-designed programs instead of a military campaign to facilitate reconciliation among warring gangs. The fresh killings raised fears of a return to the Muslim-Christian violence which killed about 2,000 people in Poso in 2000 and 2001.



Posted in C. Sulawesi conflict @ 21 October 2003 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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