The capture of the head of the organization bent on destroying this country and its close neighbors bodes well for the nation’s anti-terrorism efforts, and sends a clear, robust signal to terrorists that their demented ways will not be tolerated.

And if a militant’s comments broadcast on English-language Al-Jazeera television on Thursday are anything to go by, the Al Qaeda-affiliated Jemaah Islamiah (JI) organization that groups most of these would-be terrormongers is now running about like the proverbial headless chicken.

“We are all confused and awaiting further instructions from the leadership,” the individual, who was unnamed, said in East Java.

“The arrests last week have made me very sad because they are like brothers to me,” he said, warning that “The situation could become more dangerous now because some members will be getting impatient without clear instructions from the top.”

With lunatics like this on the lose, the anti-terrorism unit Detachment 88, which made the arrests of JI chief Zarkasi and the group’s military leader Abu Dujana, along with six others, must not waste a moment in ferreting out the lingering members of this cancerous organization.

It is essential to swiftly round up such fanatical individuals before they lash out at the crackdown with further attacks, however poorly planned, or by going into hiding and establishing splinter groups, as some intelligence analysts have warned.

Key to this will be confessions of those who have been picked up. As will cooperation from religious and community leaders at village level right across the country. Only by working together, can we rid the country – and the wider region – of this festering tumor.

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