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Police killings of alleged militants risk more violence JAKARTA - The killings of 15 alleged Islamic militants by police on conflict-ridden Sulawesi island this week risk inflaming Indonesia's terrorist movements and should be independently investigated, a think tank said. The police defended the raid, denying allegations in local media that three of those killed were innocent bystanders and insisting that officers opened fire after they came under attack by well-armed militants.

Sulawesi was the scene of bloody battles between Muslim and Christian gangs six years ago. Islamic extremists, some believed to be members of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group, have since carried out a series of shootings, beheadings and bombings aimed at Christians. Monday's raid in the flash-point town of Poso followed another police attack two weeks ago that left two militants dead, one of whom was allegedly a key Jemaah Islamiyah member who had trained in Afghanistan.

Police seized a large haul of weapons, bombs and ammunition in both raids. The Brussels-based International Crisis Group said in a report Wednesday that the "fact that the operations were justified does not mean that they were well conducted." "A jihad that has been largely directed against local Christians could now be focused on the police ... and give a boost to Indonesia's weakened jihadi movement," it said.

Islamic rebellions in the 1950s briefly erupted in two staunchly Muslim regions, while Jemaah Islamiyah has launched a series of bloody bombings against Western targets in recent years, the most deadly being the 2002 nightclub bombings on Bali island that killed 202 people. The Crisis Group urged the government to establish an independent commission of inquiry to probe this month's operations to see whether any of the deaths could have been avoided. It said the commission should make sure the report is made public and widely distributed.

Deputy police chief Lt. Gen. Makbul Padmanegara welcomed any probe. "The human rights people, parliamentarians, please come and investigate," he told reporters on Wednesday. "We have nothing to hide."


Link to related event Related event:
Central Sulawesi conflict

Related blog entries (category 'C. Sulawesi conflict') Related blog entries (category 'C. Sulawesi conflict'):
23 January 2007 · Schools closed in Poso after clashes
22 January 2007 · 10 killed in gunbattle in Poso
22 January 2007 · Gunbattle with suspected Sulawesi militants kills 3
21 January 2007 · Militant admits to beheading Christian girls
15 November 2006 · Suspected Muslim militant apologizes for beheadings of Christian girls


Posted in C. Sulawesi conflict @ 25 January 2007 08:55 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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