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Indonesian security forces kill 2 suspected militants

PALU, Indonesia (AP) – Indonesian security forces killed two militants in a shootout that also resulted in the death of a soldier, police said on Tuesday.

The suspects were members of the Mujahedin militant group in eastern Indonesia, which attacked residents who refused to help them, Central Sulawesi Police Chief Abdul Rakhman Baso said.

He said a joint police and military team ambushed militants in the village of Andole in Poso, a mountainous district considered to be an extremist hotbed in central Sulawesi province.

Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority nation in the world, has led a sustained crackdown on Islamic militants since the 2002 bombings on the tourist island of Bali killed 202 people, most of them foreigners.

Attacks on foreigners have largely been replaced by smaller, less lethal strikes against government, police and counterterrorism forces.

Security operations in central Sulawesi have intensified in recent months in an attempt to capture members of the Mujahedin in eastern Indonesia. The group’s former leader, Abu Wardah Santoso, was killed in a shootout with security forces in 2016.

Baso said one of the activists killed on Tuesday was Santoso’s son.

After the shooting, nine members of the group remain on the search list for police activists in Poso, Baso said.

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