Indonesian police arrest head of Islamic 'school'

AP News
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Posted: Jul 15, 2011 8:55 AM
Indonesian police arrest head of Islamic 'school'

Police in Indonesia arrested the headmaster of an Islamic boarding school Friday after a man there died earlier this week, reportedly while trying to teach students how to make homemade bombs.

Authorities believe the school _ set up nearly a decade ago in Sumba island town of Bima but never opened to the public _ was actually a militant training camp, National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Ketut Untung Yoga said.

Immediately after Monday's blast, school officials and students stood guard in front of the building, preventing security forces from entering. At the end of the 48-hour standoff, police discovered explosives, dozens of machetes, air rifles, Molotov cocktails and jihadi books and videos.

Documents seized from the building indicated it belonged to Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid, a hard-line group founded by convicted radical Muslim cleric, Abu Bakar Bashir, Yoga said.

The headmaster, Abrori Ali, was arrested Friday in his parents' house about 18 miles (30 kilometers) away, he said, and seven other people are in police custody for questioning.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has been battling terrorists since 2002 when al-Qaida-linked militants attacked two nightclubs on Bali island, killing 202 people, mostly foreigners.

In recent months, security forces have become the main target of extremists in Indonesia. Militants say they want to punish soldiers and police for taking part in the so-called war against terrorism.

Hundreds of Islamist militants have been arrested, tried and jailed.