To Verify Patek's Arrest, Indonesia Sends Team to Pakistan

Kompas.com - 30/03/2011, 17:20 WIB
EditorJimmy Hitipeuw

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - The Indonesian Police have sent a team to Pakistan to check an information about the arrest of Umar Patek, an Indonesian national who is also wanted in Indonesia.

"We have sent our Interpol to Pakistan to cooperate with the country’s police," National Police (Polri) Public Relations officer Insp Gen Anton Bachrul Alam said here on Wednesday.

He said the team from International Relations Division has been sent to Pakistan to check the truth of information about the arrest by Pakistani authorities of Umar Patek.

"We have to check the truth of the information," Anton said, adding that Polri also made a coordination with National Counter-terrorism Agency (BNPT) and the Foreign Affairs Ministry to ask for confirmation from the Pakistani government.

Umar Patek, the most wanted terrorist fugitive in the first Bali bombing, was reported to have been arrested in Pakistan. He was one of the suspects in 2002 Bali bombing that claimed 202 lives, mostly foreigners.

But the Foreign Affairs Ministry still has yet to receive any confirmation about Umar Patek’s arrest in Pakistan. "We have not yet received information about the arrest," Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Michael Tene said on Wednesday.

Umar Patek alias Abdul Goni alias Abu Syeikh was reported to have been arrested in Pakistan early this month. Patek was believed to be part of a group of people who held military and fighting exercises in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 1980s and the 1990s.

On returning to Southeast Asia, Patek and his friends formed Jemaah Islamiyah, and then organized a series of suicide bombings targeting nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, offices and embassies of Western countries in Indonesia.

Patek was suspected to have fled to the southern Philippines after the Bali bombings in 2002 to join the Abu Sayyaf rebels. However, he was also believed to still remotely controlled the operation of Jemaah Islamiyah.

His arrest in Pakistan raises questions about how the top terrorist fugitive could leave the country. In March 2010, Patek was believed to be in Sulu province, southern Philippines.

According to the Jamestown Foundation, a national security policy reviewer institution in Washington, Patek is a senior commander in the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) organization.

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