This step is part of the efforts of the Police and Military to capture some seven members of the MIT terrorist group that remain at large in the jungles of Central Sulawesi.
Police Chief of the Operations Division Assistant Inspector General M. Iriawan remarked in Poso on Tuesday that Operation Tinombala 2017 has again been extended for the next three months until Dec 29.
He revealed that no changes were made in the operations, but technically, persuasive efforts will be undertaken. Further, he has consistently appealed that if any terrorist opted to surrender, it would be handled well.
During his visit to Poso as part of a series of the Analysis and Evaluation of Troops (Anev), Iriawan noted that Operation Tinombala 2017 will end on Sept 29, as scheduled, but it was later found necessary to extend it.
The Anev was attended by several ranking Task Force officials of Operation Tinombala, both from the TNI and Polri.
According to Iriawan, their presence at the Anev was crucial to understanding the shortcomings and obstacles faced by troops on the field and to brainstorm on why terrorists on the wanted list of people have not yet been captured.
He remarked that a request from the Central Sulawesi Police chief to again extend Operation Tinombala was finally approved by National Police Chief General Tito Karavian based on the fact that some terrorist members on the search list have yet to be captured.
"We hope the extension of Operation Tinombala until Dec 29 would help to end it all. If terrorists still on the wanted list do not want to be dealt with firmly, please surrender," Iriawan emphasized.
Currently, the seven wanted terrorists in this operation are Ali Muhammad alias Ali Kalora alias Ali Ambon and Muhammad Faisal alias Namnung alias Kobar from Poso and Qatar alias Farel, Nae alias Galuh, Basir alias Romsi, Abu Alim, and Kholid from Bima, West Nusa Tenggara.
Central Sulawesi Police Chief Brigadier General Rudy Sufahriadi reiterated on several occasions that the Operation Tinombala Task Force had continued to focus on the pursuit of the remaining seven members of the MIT terrorist group that were carrying out terror acts in Poso during this time.
Operation Tinombala was officially launched in 2015, and in July 2016, the Indonesian military and police had succeeded in killing Santoso, the leader of the MIT radical armed group in Poso, but National Police Chief Tito Karnavian continued the operation to safeguard the region from the remaining members of the group.
A gunfight, lasting from around 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time in July 2015 in Poso, resulted in the death of the wanted terrorist leader Santoso.
The gunfight between the group members and the governments forces broke out in one of the jungles in Tambarana, Poso Pesisir, some 10 kilometers from the Poso Pesisir Utara Police sector.
Two people were found dead after the gun battle ended, and one of them was confirmed to be Santoso.
After the gunfight, an M16 rifle, four magazines, a Samsung smartphone, and four SIM cards along with some cooking utensils, cloths, and tents were confiscated as evidence.
Although Santos was killed, the operation Tinombala Task Force has continued to crush the terrorist group in Poso to entirely eliminate terrorist activities and to anticipate the emergence of new terror cells.
The Tinombala Task Force was 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 groups movement has been restricted, and it will face difficulties in procuring logistics, which will further weaken it.
The Tinombala operation, involving a special team of three thousand military and police personnel, was formed in line with President Joko Widodos directive to wipe out the Santoso group, which had made Poso a terror hotbed for years.
Hence, the Central Sulawesi Police has urged to extend Operation Tinombala to put an end to acts of terrorism in Poso, as some seven members of the MIT terrorist group are still hiding in the forest.
Some 1,500 joint police and military personnel will be part of the extended operations.
Some 153 personnel, part of the Operation Tinombala, had received promotions last April for their dedication to the state.(*)