Top Terror Suspect in Custody: Police

JAKARTA ~ Police said this week they had captured a leader of the Southeast Asian terror network blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings and a string of other devastating attacks in recent years.

The arrest of Abu Dujana, believed to head a special forces unit within Jemaah Islamiah (JI) – which has been linked to Al Qaeda – is a major breakthrough for Indonesia’s efforts to curb the activities of the group.

Dujana, 37, was among suspected militants detained in a series of weekend raids carried out by Indonesia’s anti-terror unit, Detachment 88, police spokesman Sisno Adiwinoto told a press briefing on Wednesday.

“The person that was arrested on Saturday, Yusron Mahmudi, has many aliases and one of them is Abu Dujana,” Adiwinoto said, adding that he was known under at least six names.

Abu Dujana “is known to be more important than Noordin M. Top or Azahari Husin,” he said, referring to two Malaysian members of JI.

Azahari was killed by police in a raid in November 2005 while Noordin Muhammad Top, who has been described as Southeast Asia’s most wanted man, remains on the run.

Dujana, who according to police studied in Pakistan, trained in Afghanistan and even personally met Osama bin Laden, believed to have sheltered Noordin, who is thought to head a militant JI splinter group.

Adiwinoto said that possible charges to be laid against Dujana would be terrorism, ownership of explosives, sheltering suspects and conspiracy to carry out crimes.

Seven other men suspected of involvement in terror acts have also been detained since Dujana’s capture, Adiwinoto said, adding they had been planning further attacks.

“This means we have been successful in preventing a terror act before it happened,” he said.

Police had been hot on Dujana’s trail since a flurry of arrests and seizures in the cultural capital of Yogyakarta in March, he said.

Abu Dujana’s uncle, Yaya Sunarya, 74, told the Okezone news website he had long thought his nephew had behaved strangely.

“I believe he is 100 percent terrorist,” he reportedly said when asked of his nephew’s guilt, adding that Dujana had burned all photographs of himself when returning from Malaysia four years ago.

JI has been blamed for the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings, which together killed more than 220 people, and the 2003 Marriott Hotel and 2004 Australian embassy attacks in the capital Jakarta.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Alexander Downer congratulated Indonesia on its success.

“It’s a great achievement by the Indonesian authorities and I think they are doing an outstanding job in combating terrorism,” Downer told parliament.

“Their success, their energy, their hard work deserves to be properly acknowledged in a country which suffered from 88 deaths in the (2002) Bali bombing and whose embassy has subsequently been attacked by terrorists.”

The United States says JI aims to establish a pan-Islamic state in Southeast Asia through violent jihad.

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