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Girls’ murderer escapes in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A militant serving a 19-year prison sentence for beheading three Christian schoolgirls has escaped while visiting his sick wife, Indonesian police said Friday.

National Police spokesman Brigadier General Boy Rafli Amar said Basri, 36, fled from his house in the town of Poso last week when a guard who escorted him home left him unguarded for several hours.

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Basri, who like many Indonesians uses a single name, was sentenced in 2007 for the beheadings and a series of attacks that terrorized Poso, where a Muslim-Christian conflict killed at least 1,000 people from 1998 to 2002.

‘‘When the guard came to take him back to the prison, he found that Basri was no longer at his house,’’ Amar said.

Police are searching for Basri, whom Amar described as a ‘‘dangerous militant,’’ and are investigating why he was escorted by only one guard.

Basri admitted to beheading one of the three girls in late 2005 as they walked to school.

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