One of the world’s most wanted IS terrorists has been killed in a gun battle with security forces in Indonesia, police have said. Santoso, the leader of the Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen, was shot dead on Monday on mountainous Sulawesi island, where he had been hiding out in the jungle with a small band of followers. His group carried out a string of deadly attacks on domestic security forces and was known for training militants from across the region. In 2014, he pledged allegiance to IS and earlier this year was placed on a list of global terrorists by the United States. Rudy Sufahriadi, police chief of Central Sulawesi province, said he was certain the body was that of the notorious, long-haired militant.
It’s definitely Santoso. I have hunted him and I have arrested him before, we have asked people and we have sent people (to identify the body) who fought with him and went on jihad with him - they have confirmed it was him.
Police chief Rudy Sufahriadi
Santoso’s death would end a five-year hunt involving thousands of members of Indonesia’s security forces. Santoso’s deputy Basri, who escaped prison after he was jailed for beheading three Christian students in 2007, is also thought to have been killed. Three people escaped from the shootout with security forces on Monday, including two women. Santoso and his followers had been a thorn in the Indonesian government’s side after a partially successful crackdown following a string of Islamist attacks in the early 2000s, including the 2002 Bali bombing. Known by aliases, including Abu Wardah, he had attracted extremists from other countries, including China’s Uighur minority.