2 suspected terrorists arrested in Central Sulawesi

JAKARTA - The National Police's Densus 88 counterterrorism unit has arrested two individuals allegedly involved in terrorist activities in Poso, Central Sulawesi.

National Police chief Gen. Sutarman confirmed that the two individuals, identified by their initials DE and ER, were arrested in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), on Thursday.

"We arrested two suspects who are connected to [terrorist] networks in Poso. We are still investigating," he said.

Sutarman said members of Densus had also confiscated evidence, including a Taurus brand revolver and 12 3.8 caliber bullets.

Poso has long been believed to be a terrorist hotbed.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno earlier said that the intelligence services had detected the growth of the Islamic State (IS) movement there.

The authorities have also identified 110 foreigners suspected to be IS members in the area, which was once ravaged by communal conflict in the early 2000s.

The police had suspected that a hard-line group in Poso was part of the IS terrorist network in Indonesia and that a leader of a Poso terrorist group had joined IS.

West Nusa Tenggara Police chief Brig. Gen. Sriyono said the police had also pursued another suspect identified as FJ, who had been wanted by Densus since 2013, when they arrested 31-year-old DE and 30-year-old ER.

"There were three of them but one escaped. The one who escaped is wanted by Densus," he said.

Separately, Bima Police deputy chief Comr. Yuyan Priatmadja said the police suspected that the two men were involved in the shooting of three police officers last year, as reported by Antara news agency.

Bima Police senior intelligence officer chief Brig. Muhammad Yamin and Ambalawi Police chief Adj. Comr. Abdul Salam were both fatally shot in June and August, respectively.

Bima Police drug crimes investigation head Second Brig. Hanafi was shot in the abdomen and left cheek but survived the attack.

Yuyan said DE and ER were suspected to have been involved in training a terrorist group in Bima based on the types of weapons confiscated.

The National Police have vowed to prioritize cracking down on radical groups this year in light of the growing numbers of IS supporters in Indonesia.