Still at large: Indonesia's most wanted terrorist

Still at large: Indonesia's most wanted terrorist
SANTOSO (above), also known as Abu Wardah

SINGAPORE- Santoso, also known as Abu Wardah, is Indonesia's most wanted terrorist, and is alleged to be behind the killing of an estimated eight policemen since 2011.

The commander of Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT), he styles himself as Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi al Indonesia, after the slain leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Santoso's militant pedigree stretches back to Jemaah Islamiah (JI), a terrorist network that once spanned South-east Asia and was responsible for bomb blasts in Bali in 2002 and 2005.

He was a member of a group led by Basri, a JI leader who surrendered to the police in 2007, and also a protege of Abu Tholut, the field commander of Jemaah Asharut Tauhid (JAT), which succeeded the JI.

A former field commander of the Sulawesi chapter of JAT, Santoso is skilled in guerilla warfare and bomb-making.

His group, which has links to terrorist cells across the country, is based in the mountains near Poso in Central Sulawesi, where he runs paramilitary training for aspiring terrorists.

It sees the police as infidels for blocking the jihad cause, and some estimates put its membership at 70.

Santoso has remained elusive despite major crackdowns by anti-terror squad Detachment 88 (Densus 88). Indeed, he seems to delight in taunting his pursuers.

In July last year, he appeared in a YouTube clip holding a rifle, flanked by other militants, to say: "To my brothers in the city of Poso, you have felt how violent Densus 88 is towards the Muslim community. You know how they killed our brothers in Poso in 2007. They are the real enemy. They are the real Satan."


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