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Sulawesi police say they killed senior JI militant JAKARTA - Indonesian police shot dead what they called a senior member of the regional militant group Jemaah Islamiah on Thursday on Sulawesi island, the same day a mob killed a policeman at a funeral for another militant. National Police spokesman Anton Bachrul Alam said the militant, named as Riyan and also known as Abdul Hakim, died in a raid in Maengkol Poso in Central Sulawesi.

"A JI guy who graduated from Afghanistan and was at the same level as Mukhlas (also known as Ali Gufron), the Bali bomber, got shot in the head by police in the raid," Alam told Reuters by text message. Jemaah Islamiah is a Southeast Asian militant group blamed for the Bali bombings and other deadly attacks in Indonesia. In a separate attack, a mob killed a policeman after another raid on Sulawesi island.

During the second raid, four people were arrested for their role in violence sparked by the execution of three Christian militants in September, police said. The arrests had come after five men threw explosives at police when they raided a house in the troubled region of Poso in Central Sulawesi, Poso police chief Rudy Sufariady told Reuters earlier on Thursday. Several weapons, including three semi-automatic rifles, were found during the raid in which the fifth man was killed.

"We were bombed 18 times (during the raid)," Sufariady said, adding that five standard-issue weapons such as an M-16, an Uzi and a revolver were found. The policeman was killed when the man who died during the raid was being buried, Sufariady said later on Thursday. "That policeman did not know anything about the raid. He was just passing in the cemetery area," he said. "He was attacked by overwhelming numbers of people who were giving their last respects to the dead."

Central Sulawesi has been tense since the execution of the three Christian militants over their role in Muslim-Christian violence that gripped the region from 1998 to 2001. In October, an armed group clashed with police and set fire to a Christian church in Poso, while a Christian priest was shot in Palu, sparking fears of a return to sectarian violence.

Three years of sectarian clashes in Central Sulawesi killed more than 2,000 people before a peace accord took effect in late 2001. There has been sporadic violence ever since. Around 85 percent of Indonesia's 220 million people follow Islam, but some areas in eastern Indonesia have roughly equal numbers of Muslim and Christians.



Posted in C. Sulawesi conflict @ 11 January 2007 15:41 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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