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Indonesian security kill two ethnic Uighur Chinese militants in shootout

Indonesian security forces have killed two ethnic-Uighur Chinese militants following a shootout. The two men belonged to a militant network run by the country's most wanted man.

The shootout happened while police were hunting for Abu Wardah Santoso, a militant, in Poso, in central Sulawesi. The two men had reportedly joined Santoso's group after leaving the Muslim region of western China.

Indonesian security forces have been intensifying operations against the Mujahidin Indonesia Timur network led by Santoso

, Indonesia's most high-profile supporter of "Islamic State" (IS), who has been on the run for over three years.

"We hope Santoso will surrender, but we are prepared for the worst-case scenario," Security Minister Luhut Panjaitan said.

Tuesday's shootout followed a standoff between security forces and a group of unknown men during an operation in a forested area of Poso, over 1,600 kilometers (950 miles) northeast of the capital, Jakarta.

"Based on testimony from another suspect we had arrested, those two were identified as Uighurs," Central Sulawesi police spokesman Hari Suprapto said.

Hundreds of Uighurs escaping unrest in the western Chinese homeland of Xinjiang

have also traveled secretly via Southeast Asia to Turkey and often end up crossing into Syria and Iraq to fight for IS.

Four Uighur men were jailed in Indonesia last year for attempting to join the same militant network.

jh/rg (Reuters/AP)

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