Suspected Leading Terrorist Arrested


Police said on Friday they had arrested top terror suspect Abu Tholut, seen as one of the most dangerous Islamist extremists in the country.

Tholut, 49, is suspected of playing a lead role in the formation of a militant training camp that was found in Aceh in February, as well as recruiting militants and raising illegal funds for terror activity.

Police spokesman Djihartono said the suspect also known as Mostofa, Pranata Yuda and Imron Baehaqi was arrested without a fight in Kudus, Central Java province, on Friday morning.

“He was arrested at his home and he made no attempt to fight us,” he said.

“We also found a firearm … with eight bullets in the magazine, and several bullets which were wrapped inside plastic.”

Tholut received militia training in Afghanistan during the mujahedeen war against the Soviets in the late 1980s and became a leading figure in Southeast Asia’s Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror network when he returned home.

He reportedly sent Islamic militants to fight Christians in Sulawesi from 1998 to 2001 and served less than half of a seven-year prison sentence handed down in 2004 for the bombing of a shopping mall in Jakarta three years earlier.

The Central Java native also allegedly helped establish training camps for Islamic militants in the Southern Philippines, including the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group.

In recent years he reportedly split from JI and joined another radical group called Jamaah Ansharut-Tauhid, set up by extremist cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.

Bashir is in custody along with dozens of other militants linked to the Aceh cell, which was allegedly planning attacks against Westerners, the security forces and assassinations of political leaders.

Security analysts say that despite going through a deradicalisation programme in prison he remains a key coordinator for Islamist militants in Indonesia, who are bent on creating a caliphate across much of Southeast Asia.

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