REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- The operations of the Tinombala Task Force will be continued despite Santoso, the leader of the East Indonesia Mujahidin radical armed group, being allegedly shot dead on Monday evening, according to the police.
"The Tinombala Operation will be continued," Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar, Public Relations Division Chief of the National Police Headquarters, confirmed here on Tuesday.
Amar affirmed that the operations will be continued to crush the terrorist group in Poso.
"This is to entirely eliminate terrorist activities and to anticipate the emergence of new terror cells," he added.
The Tinombala Task Force is split to conduct reconnaissance in four sectors in Poso. Three of the sectors are located in the northern coastal area of Poso, the Tokorondo region, and in the eastern coastal area.
"With the operations ongoing in the four sectors, the group's movement has been restricted, and it will face difficulties in procuring logistics, which will further weaken it," he pointed out.
The Tinombala operation, involving a special team of three thousand military and police personnel, was started in January 2016 in line with President Joko Widodo's directive to wipe out the Santoso group, which had made Poso a terror hotbed for years.
The Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) Chief Spokesman Maj. Gen. Tatang Sulaiman stated that the Raider Battalion 515 of the Army's Strategic Command Force (Kostrad) and the Tinombala Task Force exchanged gunfire with the Santoso group on Monday evening (July 18). One of the group members, suspected to be Santoso, was shot dead.
"Hence, there were armed terrorists exchanging gunfire with the Kostrad's Raider Battalion 515 and the Tinombala Task Force," the TNI chief's spokesman noted.
The gunfight began at 5 p.m. Central Indonesia Standard Time. Five members of the extremist group and five personnel of the Tinombala Task Force were involved in the exchange of gunfire that ended in the killing of two terrorists, one of whom is strongly believed to be Santoso.
The shootout took place in Tambarana in the northern coastal area of Poso, or some 60 kilometers from Poso.