"For the sake of security and order in Central Sulawesi Province, the National Police chief has issued a National Police Chief Telegram Letter on extending the police's operation codenamed the third phase of Operation Tinombala 2020," Brigadier General Awi Setiyono, a police spokesman, stated here on Monday.
The decision was stipulated in Police Chief's Telegram Letter Number: STR / 360 / VI / OPS.1.3 / 2020, dated June 26, 2020. This operation extends from June 29 to September 30, 2020, or for 94 days.
The operation has been continued since 14 members of the Eastern Indonesian Mujahidin, considered to be a terrorist group by the government, are still at large, Setiyono stated.
"The 14 fugitives are still at large," he noted.
The first phase of Operation Tinombala was conducted from January 1 to March 31, 2020. It was then extended from March 31 to June 28, 2020.
During this operation, the Tinombala Task Force was chiefly tasked with hunting and capturing the remaining members of the Eastern Indonesian Mujahidin. The protracted sectarian violence spurred by political and economic rivalries in Poso, which almost equaled the Muslim and Christian populace, dates back to 1998.
The peak was the so-called, "Walisongo Islamic boarding school massacre" on May 28, 2000, when Christian militants attacked the Islamic boarding school in Sintuwulemba, killing 165 Muslims, considered the official figure, including children and women, set ablaze hundreds of buildings and displaced tens of thousands of people.
Three leaders from the local Christian militia were later convicted and executed in 2006 for crimes committed during the massacre.
Since then, a series of sectarian and violent clashes broke out.
The administration of Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who was installed as the country's president in October 2014, decided to deploy hundreds of military and police personnel to crush members of the Mujahidin group hiding in the mountainous area in Poso. (antara)