Poso Saturday, January 20, after a key Islamic militant admitted to taking part in the killing of three Christian high school girls there in 2005.

He reportedly also confessed to shooting the Rev. Susianty Tinulele to death in Palu in 2004.

In a written statement in Central Jakarta District Court published by Compass Direct News agency, Lilik Purnomo also confessed to participating in other acts of violence in Poso, including a bombing at Immanuel Church, beheading a village chief, and shooting Ferry Silalahi, a Christian attorney who had defended a Christian peace activist.

Purnomo confessed to taking part in the beheadings of the three girls – Theresia Morangke and Yarni Sambue, both 15, and 17-year-old Alfita Poliwo – as they walked to school on October 29, 2005.


"It is true," he said, apparently without emotion. "I was the execution coordinator." He admitted having worked with other militants, identified as Irano, Papa Yusron, Agus Jenggot, Nanto alias Bojel, Basri, and Wiwin Kalahe.

A fourth girl in the 2005 attack, Noviana Malewa, then 15, received serious injuries to her face and neck but survived. She has said that at least six men attacked the girls.

After the murders, the girls’ heads were wrapped in black plastic bags, one was left on the steps of a church in nearby Kasiguncu village, and the other two near a police station five miles from Poso town, several Christian rights investigators said.

The bags reportedly contained a note stating in part, "We will murder 100 more Christian teenagers and their heads will be presented as presents."


A 24-year-old Islamic extremist known by the single name of Hasanuddin last year admitted planning the murders as a "gift" to celebrate Idul Fitri, a festival marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The beheadings were allegedly also carried out to avenge the deaths of Muslims during inter-faith clashes in the eastern province of Central Sulawesi between 1998 and 2001, according to the defendants.

His January 17 confession came shortly after police in Central Sulawesi raided the home of one of 29 Islamic terrorists suspected of carrying out violent attacks on Christians, news reports said.

At least one suspect was reportedly killed in the January 11 raid, as well as an Islamic teacher who was not a suspect. Four suspects were arrested, and a policeman was apparently killed after the operation.


"I heard several gun shots at around 5 a.m.," Pastor Hanny Ticoalu of the local Pentecostal Church in Indonesia (GPdI) Parakletos congregation was quoted as saying by Compass Direct News. 

"The raid took place only two kilometers from my home. But I did not go out to investigate; this kind of thing doesn’t surprise us anymore."

There has been concern about growing tensions between Muslim and Christian communities in Indonesia and a possible repeat of violent clashes between the two groups. In a recent sign of that, a 200-strong mob reportedly prevented the prevented the Pentecostal Church in Cengkareng Timur area from holding a Christmas Eve gathering. 

In the lead-up to Christmas Eve over 17,000 policemen and soldiers were deployed to protect churches, shopping malls and airport terminals in Jakarta, and some Muslim organizations also took part in providing security, news reports said. (With reports from Indonesia).


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