Police kill 2 suspected militants in Indonesia, stepping up crackdown

By Fakhurradzie Gade, AP
Friday, March 12, 2010

Indonesian police kill 2 suspected militants

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia — Indonesian police killed two suspected Islamist militants in a firefight in remote Aceh province Friday during the latest in a series of raids made since an extremist training camp was discovered there last month. Eight other suspects were arrested.

The operations have highlighted the resilience of Southeast Asian militant networks allied to al-Qaida, as well as the continued pressure being applied on them by Indonesian anti-terror police.

The greatest prize for authorities so far has been Dulmatin, a master bomb maker who was shot dead Tuesday near the capital, Jakarta. He had been wanted for making and priming one of the bombs that killed 202 people in a nightclub strip on Indonesia’s Bali island in 2002 and had been assumed to be hiding in the southern Philippines.

The Bali bombings and several others against Western targets in Indonesia since then were carried out by Jemaah Islamiyah or associated groups. Police say those targeted in the recent raids are linked to that network, which at its height in early 2000 had cells across Southeast Asia.

Police killed the two suspects Friday as a group of 10 tried to flee from a bus that was stopped at a checkpoint close to the Aceh capital of Band Aceh, provincial police chief Maj. Gen. Aditya Warman said.

The other suspects fought back but surrendered after a 15-minute gunbattle, said Warman.

Wrman identified the dead as Encang Kurnia and Pura Sudarma.

Kurnia received military training in the southern Philippines in 2006, while the other was wanted for past bombings, said a police officer who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media

Police seized five assault rifles, as well as a pistol that the group had taken from one of three officers slain by militants in an ambush in the province last week, said Warman.

Police have killed seven alleged militants in Aceh and on the main Indonesian island of Java in the past month since they raided the training camp. More than 30 others have been arrested.

Several hundred people, among them relatives, curious villagers and supporters of militant Islam, attended Dulmatin’s funeral Friday in his hometown in central Java.

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