Poso: the country's most wanted terrorist killed
by Mathias Hariyadi

Ali Kaliora, leader of a terrorist group affiliated with the Islamic State, was killed by a joint task force of the police and the army. Four people managed to escape. The area has long been the scene of violence between Christians and Muslim extremists.



Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Ali Kaliora, head of the Mujahideen of Eastern Indonesia (Mujahideen Indonesia Timur or Mit), has been killed by a joint task force of the police and the army. Kaliora had been wanted since he took over the reins of the Isis-linked terrorist group in 2016, following the killing of previous leader Santoso, but had always managed to escape thanks to his knowledge of the mountainous territory of Poso (Central Sulawesi), where he was hiding. 

On September 18 he was spotted by an army infantry unit in the village of Astina and was eliminated. Comrade Jaka Ramadhan, known as Rama, blew himself up, while four other terrorists later identified by the police managed to escape. Local military commander General Farid Makruf and Central Sulawesi Police Chief Inspector Rudy Sufahriadi confirmed the death of the country's most wanted terrorist. 

Kaliora was known for the brutality with which he tormented the local Christian population of Poso. Once a well-known seaside resort, the town witnessed sectarian conflict between Protestant Christians and Muslim extremists in the late 1990s and early part of the new century. In 2001, the Malino Declaration was signed, but it did not serve to put an end to the violence. In November 2020, the MIT killed four Christians and in May of this year beheaded members of a Protestant family.

Poso is a six-hour drive from the provincial capital Palu. Most of the population is Muslim and lives in the coastal area, while indigenous Protestants occupy the highlands.