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Police Raid Nest of Islamic Terrorists in Poso , Indonesia

1/17/07 Indonesia (Compass Direct News) – Police in Central Sulawesi last Thursday (January 11) raided the home of one of 29 Islamic terrorists suspected of carrying out violent attacks on Christians. A suspect was killed in the raid – as was an Islamic teacher who was not a suspect. Four suspects were arrested, and a policeman was killed after the raid.

Security forces began a serious crackdown on Islamic terrorists in the area only after a prominent Christian leader was assassinated on October 16, 2006.

After the assassination, police clashed with Muslim residents and clerics at an Islamic boarding school in Tanah Runtuh. Police then declared an official manhunt for the 29 suspects as part of their commitment to restore peace in the province.

Thursday’s incident took place in Gebang Rojo sub-district.

“I heard several gun shots at around 5 a.m.,” Pastor Hanny Ticoalu of the local Pentecostal Church in Indonesia (GPdI) Parakletos congregation reported. “The raid took place only two kilometers from my home. But I did not go out to investigate; this kind of thing doesn’t surprise us anymore.”

Terrorist suspects fought back, firing automatic weapons and throwing bombs at the police, local media reported.

A terrorist suspect, Dedi Parsan, was killed in the raid, while two others were severely wounded.

Police detained four suspects and flew them to the provincial capital, Palu, for further investigation. Authorities also confiscated rifles, home-made bombs and ammunition from the house.

Local police chief Brig. Gen. Badrodin Haiti said officials had already tried to resolve disputes through dialogue with local Islamic leaders in the area, with no success.

“We had to take this action in order to uphold the law,” he said. “I would like to express my thanks for the support of several Islamic clerics who have helped the police.”

Civilian, Police Officer Killed

An Islamic teacher known as Ustad (teacher) Rian was accidentally killed during the raid, although he was not on the suspect list, sparking outrage among local residents.

Rian was buried on Thursday afternoon, and as mourners made their way home from the funeral, they assaulted and killed a policeman, Dedi Irawan.

Nobody in the mob was detained after Irawan’s murder. “I think the police want to avoid triggering another act of violence,” Ticoalu said. “They might investigate the murder after the situation has calmed down a little.”

With the exception of the assault on Irawan, both Muslim and Christian communities in Poso have reacted well to the incident, Ticoalu added.

“In the past, there would have been a mass uprising,” he explained. “People would have tried to get revenge. But now they leave it to the security officers. This is a good development.”