PALU, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian security forces killed two militants in a shootout that also resulted in the death of one soldier, police said Tuesday.
The suspects were members of the East Indonesia Mujahideen militant group, which had been attacking residents who refused to help them, Central Sulawesi Police chief Abdul Rakhman Baso said.
He said a joint police and military team ambushed the militants in Andole village in Poso, a mountainous district considered an extremist hotbed in Central Sulawesi province.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, has carried out a sustained crackdown on Islamic militants since bombings on the tourist island of Bali in 2002 killed 202 people, mostly foreigners.
Attacks on foreigners have been largely replaced by smaller, less deadly strikes targeting the government, police and anti-terrorism forces.
Security operations in Central Sulawesi have been intensified in recent months to try to capture East Indonesia Mujahideen members. The group’s former leader, Abu Wardah Santoso, was killed in a shootout with security forces in 2016.
Baso said one of the militants killed Tuesday was Santoso's son.
After the shootout, nine members of the group remain on the police’s militant search list in Poso, Baso said.