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Indonesia police kill Islamic militants

00:24 Sat Jan 5 2013
AAP

Indonesian counter-terrorism police have shot dead two suspected Islamic militants outside a university mosque on Sulawesi island.

The men were part of a network that killed six police officers last year in the island's restive Poso district, national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said on Friday.

The two - Syamsuddin alias Aswah alias Abu Uswah, 34, and Ahmad Kholil alias Hasan, 35 - were carrying a handgun and grenades when they were shot at the Hasanuddin University campus in the South Sulawesi capital Makassar.

They had "tried to pull out their gun", Amar told reporters.

"In the process of arresting the men, the police were forced to shoot to immobilise them," he said.

Amar said the men were linked to the country's most wanted terror suspect, Santoso, who police believe leads the militant group and set up a paramilitary training camp in the Poso mountains.

The two men had been wanted since November when members of the group were arrested for throwing a pipe bomb at the South Sulawesi provincial governor while he was giving a speech, Amar said.

Police have said Santoso's group is believed to have trained scores of young militants to assemble rifles and attack police officers.

Police have beefed up security in the area since late last year after two police officers investigating the camp were found dead and buried in a hole with their throats slit, and several small bomb plots were subsequently foiled.

Poso was the site of sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians between the late 1990s and mid-2000s that left thousands dead.