Indonesian bomb maker arrested in Pakistan: source

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 30, 2011 2:55 AM
Indonesian bomb maker arrested in Pakistan: source

JAKARTA (Reuters) - A Indonesian wanted for alleged involvement in bombings on Bali island has been captured in Pakistan with members of a local militant group, a senior government official told Reuters on Wednesday.

The arrest of Umar Patek is significant, security analysts say, because he is one of the few Indonesian militants who could explain to authorities the connections and extent of cooperation between Islamist militant groups in Asia.

"We received a report he has been arrested in Pakistan with some members of a local terrorist group," the security source told Reuters, adding Patek was injured during the arrest, which happened several weeks ago.

Bombings of nightclubs in Bali in 2002 killed 202 people, though the government has had success in recent years in combating militant groups, killing or capturing several key figures in the Southeast Asian network Jemaah Islamiah (JI) that was blamed for the Bali attack.

The government source said Indonesia was considering whether to seek Patek's return to Indonesia for trial.

Patek, also believed to have joined Philippine-based militant group Abu Sayyaf, could pose a renewed threat from prison in Indonesia if he was able to spread his bomb-making skills, the source said.

"He more than anyone else will have information about the nature and extent of linkages between the Philippines and Indonesia," Sidney Jones, of the International Crisis Group, told Reuters.

"He will be able to give detailed info on the Indonesians and Malaysians still operating in Mindanao, and where their financing comes from and who supports them," she added.

"He will be able to explain what the nature of linkages is between Pakistan, and South Asian groups more generally, with their Southeast Asian counterparts, and that's a vital piece of the puzzle that nobody has been able to understand thus far."

(Reporting by Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Neil Chatterjee and Alex Richardson)