Home  > Israel-News Today  > Week in Review  > Year in Review
´A Top Leader´ of Group Suspected in Bali Bombing Is Arrested (LA TIMES) By Tyler Marshall and Sari Sudarsono JAKARTA, Indonesia 12/05/02) Source: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-arrest5dec05,0,5666325.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dworld LOS ANGELES TIMES LOS ANGELES TIMES Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The suspected operations chief of the shadowy Southeast Asian terrorist network that is believed to have carried out the deadly Bali bombing in October has been arrested in central Java, police said Wednesday.

Ali Gufron, 42, also known as Mukhlas, was seized from a supposed safe house in the town of Solo shortly before midnight Tuesday along with his wife and six other people, authorities said. All of those detained are believed to have links to the Jemaah Islamiah terrorist organization.

Answering media questions here in the Indonesian capital late Wednesday, the national chief of detectives, Erwin Mappaseng, said Gufron had been wanted in connection with a series of terrorist bombings in the region, including the Oct. 12 attack that killed 191 people -- most of them foreigners -- on the idyllic tourist island of Bali. Gufron had also been sought by authorities for terror-related activities in Malaysia and Singapore.

"He is a top leader," Mappaseng told reporters.

A Belgian-made rifle, 12 rounds of ammunition and what police called "some documents about jihad" were also seized, according to Mappaseng.

Gufron´s arrest marks the latest in a series of blows to the terrorist group in the wake of the Bali attack. In recent weeks, police have arrested the suspected ringleader of the bombing plot and a key accomplice whose explosives-laden car was detonated outside one of the nightclubs hit in the attack. Both have confessed involvement in the bombing.

The accomplice, known as Amrozi, is Gufron´s younger brother. Two other Gufron brothers are also wanted by police, one of them as the possible triggerman who detonated a car bomb used in the attack.

At a news conference last week, a senior police officer named Gufron as the man authorities believed had assumed operational control of Jemaah Islamiah shortly after the Bali attack.

The militant group, which has been active in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines as well as Indonesia, nurtures the vision of carving an independent Muslim caliphate out of Southeast Asia. One of its top leaders, a cleric named Riduan Isamuddin, also known as Hambali, is considered the most widely sought terrorist in the Southeast Asian region. He is said to maintain close ties with other terrorist groups in the region and with Osama bin Laden´s Al Qaeda network.

Police believe Hambali has gone into hiding in recent weeks and relinquished operational control of the organization to Gufron. "After Hambali escaped, Mukhlas took over his position," Mappaseng said, using Gufron´s alias.

Gufron was born in the eastern Javan village of Tenggulun, was educated in Islamic schools and -- like many militant Muslims in the region -- learned how to use weapons while fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He was known to teach a radical brand of Islam and instilled those views in others, including his younger brothers, police said. Marshall reported from Hong Kong and Sudarsono from Jakarta. (Copyright 2002 Los Angeles Times 12/05/02)

Return to Top