Indonesia police say suspected militants kill 4 villagers

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Indonesian police stand guard at the site of this week's militant attack in central Jakarta, Indonesia January 16, 2016. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside - RTX22M5K

Jakarta: Indonesian police said Saturday that suspected militants killed four people and burned seven houses in a village in Central Sulawesi province.

National Police spokesperson Awi Setiyono said they believe Friday’s assault in Lemban Tongoa village of Sigi District was carried out by the the East Indonesia Mujahideen group.

Setiyono said after questioning five witnesses, police determined there were 10 suspects, three of whom had guns.

He said witnesses identified at least three of the suspects as members of East Indonesia Mujahideen.

He said the investigation was ongoing, as was the search for the suspects.

Ahmad Rifai, a Lemban Tongoa village officer, said that one of the buildings burned was a Christian house of worship.

He said police and soldiers were now guarding the village.

Indonesia, which is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, has carried out a sustained crackdown on Islamic militants since bombings on the tourist island of Bali in 2002 killed 202 people, mostly foreigners.

Attacks on foreigners have been largely replaced by smaller, less deadly strikes targeting the government, police and anti-terrorism forces.

Security operations in Central Sulawesi have been intensified in recent months to try to capture East Indonesia Mujahideen members.

The group’s former leader, Abu Wardah Santoso, was killed in a shootout with security forces in 2016.

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