Central Sulawesi Police Chief Insp. Gen. Syafril Nursal, center, welcomes army soldiers at Mutiara Sis Aljufri Airport in Palu, Central Sulawesi, on Aug. 15, 2020. The Army has deployed 150 personnel to assist police in an operation to capture members of militant group East Indonesia Mujahidin (MIT). (Antara Photo/Mohamad Hamzah)

Wife of Indonesia’s Most-Wanted Militant Arrested 

BY :FAROUK ARNAZ

AUGUST 19, 2020

Jakarta. A woman believed to be the wife of terror fugitive Ali Kalora has been arrested in Central Sulawesi as she planned to deliver logistics to the militant group, the National Police said on Tuesday.

The woman, identified as Ummu Syifa, 28, was intercepted in southern coast of the provincial capital of Poso in late July, National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Awi Setiyono said in a statement.

“She was on her way to deliver money amounting to Rp 1,59 million ($107) and food to the East Indonesia Mujahidin (MIT)," Awi said, referring to the militant group blamed for years of attacks in the province and its neighbors.

Ummu is charged under the tough anti-terrorism law for concealing information about a terror fugitive, he added. She could face a lifetime in prison if convicted.

Police have intensified man-hunt operations in the province to capture the remaining members of the MIT, most notably Ali Kalora, following a series of recent attacks.

The Army deployed 150 soldiers on Saturday to join counter-terror operations by the police in Central Sulawesi.

“The army troops will join Operation Tinombala to hunt down East Indonesia Mujahidin members in the mountainous region of Poso,” provincial military command chief Brig. Gen. Farid Makruf said, adding the deployed soldiers have proven intelligence and combat capabilities.

Earlier this month, a vehicle carrying medical workers was ambushed and robbed by gunmen. In a separate incident, two farmers were taken hostages and one of them was killed. Police said the MIT was responsible for the attacks.

Operation Tinombala was initiated by the National Police in January to hunt down 13 remaining members of the MIT, whose charismatic leader Santoso was killed in a police operation in July 2016. Ali has since emerged as its new leader.

National Police Chief Idham Azis has extended Operation Tinombala until Sept. 30.

Major Crackdown

Awi, the police spokesman, said at least 72 suspected militants have been arrested in a series of operations in 13 provinces between June and August.

The suspects were believed to be members of homegrown terror network Jemaah Ansharut Daulat, which is blamed for a knife attack that injured then chief security minister Wiranto in October last year.

The United States government designated JAD a terrorist organization in January 2017, in a move to disrupt Islamic State operations in Southeast Asia. 

Among the suspects were nine people arrested in the West Sumatra capital of Padang last month for an alleged plot to attack a police post, Awi said.

Another suspect was arrested in Bali on July 23 for spreading “radical contents” about the Islamic State and bomb making tutorial, he added. 
 

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