Islamabad: A CIA tipoff led to the arrest
in Pakistan of the main Indonesian suspect in the 2002
nightclub bombing in Bali, Pakistani security officials said
n Wednesday, but it was not clear whether the Americans would get
access to the militant.
The officials did not say where or when Umar Patek, a
deputy commander of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant network, was
detained. But the Philippine army, which has also been hunting
him, said he was picked up Jan 25 alongside a Pakistani
associate assumed to have been harbouring him.
The arrest of Patek, who has a USD 1 million American
price tag on his head, ends a 10-year international manhunt
and is a major achievement in the global fight against
al-Qaida and its offshoots.
Providing the 40-year-old cooperates, he could give
valuable intelligence on the current state of the extremist
organisation and its hardy affiliates in Southeast Asia.
News of his arrest initially came from intelligence
officials in Indonesia and the Philippines yesterday.
Today, Pakistani security officials confirmed the
capture. All spoke on customary condition of anonymity.
"The CIA tipped us off that he might be travelling
here," one official said, but stressed that it was a "solely
Another official said Patek was currently being
questioned by Pakistani agents, but that he would "eventually"
be given to the Indonesians.
"It is our policy to send them back to their country
of origin," he said.
The CIA would presumably like to have access to Patek,
but the Pakistani officer said this would happen only with the
written consent of Indonesia.
Indonesian officials were not available to answer that
question, but the country has worked closely with the United
States in the past.
Relations between the CIA and Pakistan`s main
Inter-Services Intelligence agency have been tense in recent
months, especially after the shooting by CIA contractor
Raymond Allen Davis of two Pakistanis in Lahore in January.
But it is unclear whether this will be a factor in the
situation surrounding Patek`s arrest.
Jemaah Islamiyah members, including Patek, are
believed to have carried out the Bali nightclub bombings that
left 202 people dead, including 88 Australians and seven
Americans. He is also suspected in at least two other suicide
bombings, in Jakarta in 2003 and 2004.
With the help of Australian and American funding,
intelligence and expertise, Indonesia has rounded up or killed
many top militants since 2002.