Umar Patek, 40, who has a US bounty of $1 million on his head and is Indonesia‘s most wanted fugitive, was arrested by Pakistani security agencies who have said they are investigating him for links to militant groups in Pakistan.
A Pakistani official said: “Right now he is being interrogated. The Indonesians want access to him and they are coming.”
Kevin Rudd, Australian Foreign Minister, said: “For us it is clear that Patek has been arrested. Furthermore, it is our view that Patek’s arrest is potentially a major step forward in the fight against terrorism.
“His arrest might offer some small comfort to the nearly 100 Australian families who lost loved ones in the Bali bombings way back in 2002. Of course, his arrest does not bring anyone back.”
The military blamed al-Qaeda linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) for the powerful bomb blast today in the country\’s south that left two people dead and eight others wounded.
Lt. Col. Prudencio Asto, a regional military spokesman, said the attack was carried out by students of slain militant Basit Usman of Indonesian-based terrorist network JI and the al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf group.
RADICAL Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has been found guilty of terrorism charges and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The 72-year-old has been found guilty of using violence or the threat of violence to incite terrorism, despite the prosecution weeks ago having conceded that it would not be able to prove all elements of that charge.
The prosecution had been seeking a life sentence in relation to charges of funding terrorism, stemming from the discovery last year of a paramilitary camp in Aceh.
However, the panel of judges today effectively reinstated the more serious charge.
Prosecutors have sought a life sentence for Bashir, who co-founded the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network, which is blamed for some of Indonesia’s deadliest suicide bombings.
Bashir, 72, denies involvement with the training camp but has repeatedly defended it as legal under Islam.
The white-bearded cleric told a Jakarta court that the case against him was fabricated and witnesses that testified by teleconference were doing so under pressure.
“Therefore their testimonies could not be trusted,” he said.
Citing verses from the Quran, Bashir said he rejected the trial as against Islam.
“Abu Bakar Bashir, 71, co-founder of Indonesia’s deadliest terror group, al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, was accused of providing vital support for an extremist cell plotting a wave of assassinations and high-profile attacks.
He was seized in West Java, where a plot to kill President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was uncovered last week, and taken to Jakarta for questioning.
Mr Bashir was arrested twice before and spent 30 months in jail for conspiracy over his links to the 2002 Bali bombings in which 202 people – mostly Australian tourists – were killed. But he was acquitted and released in 2006.
Police, who can hold Mr Bashir for up to a week without charging him, said he was actively involved in planning a military struggle a receive reports from the cell’s field co-ordinator.
Since his release Abu Bakir toured the country delivering fiery sermons and spoke at the funerals of the two men executed for their part in the Bali bombings.
His detention was widely expected since three members of his Jema’ah Ansharut Tauhid organisation – a legal group that fosters Islamisation – were arrested in May for allegedly raising funds for al Qaeda in Aceh.
A terrorist training camp complete with a large cache of assault rifles, ammunition and explosives was unearthed in Aceh in April and police said the cell has other facilities spread across Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim majority nation.
Five suspected Islamist militants in West Java were alleged to have been plotting an assassination attempt on President Yudhoyono. The arrests were connected with Mr Bashir’s seizure.
Police said there was strong evidence showing that Mr Bashir had helped set up and fund the new terrorist cell in Aceh.”
Singapore’s government said the suspected leader of the Singapore wing of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group is back in its custody two-and-a-half years after a daring jailbreak.
The Home Ministry said Mas Selamat Kastari is “currently under investigation” and being held under the country’s Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial. Malaysian police deported the suspect Friday—nearly 18 months after capturing him in southern Malaysia.
Mr. Kastari escaped from prison in 2008—embarrassing tightly policed Singapore—by squeezing through a bathroom window at its Whitley Road Detention Center. Mr. Kastari spent 12 months on the run, evading a massive manhunt and raising fears that he was receiving support from a network of terrorist operatives across the region.
Malaysian police tracked down Mr. Kastari, who is of Indonesian descent, in Johor state in April 2009 and held him for interrogation until Friday, when authorities handed him back to their Singaporean counterparts. Singapore praised the cooperation on the suspect’s transfer, which came on the heels of bilateral talks between Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Singaporean authorities accuse Mr. Kastari, who is in his late 40s, of being the chief of the Singapore wing of Jemaah Islamiyah, the group responsible for the 2002 bombings in Bali, Indonesia, which killed 202 people, as well as a slew of other attacks. Officials say Mr. Kastari hatched a plan to hijack an aircraft and crash it into Singapore’s Changi airport, one of the busiest terminals in the region.
Indonesian officials have asked the Philippine authorities to track down an Indonesian fugitive wanted in connection with several beheadings who is now helping to train militants in an insurgency-wrecked Philippine region, security officials said yesterday.
Sanusi, like many Indonesians using only one name, has been monitored in Mindanao, two Philippine intelligence officials said.
He fled to the region after being accused of ordering militants in 2007 to behead three people in the eastern Indonesian town of Poso, where Islamist militants had launched a series of bloody attacks on Christians and government workers.
He is believed to have helped fund and organise religious and combat training for new Indonesian militant recruits in Mindanao, where local guerrillas are fighting to create an independent Muslim state.