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Indonesia arrests top terror suspect

Last Updated: Friday, December 10, 2010 - 15:46

Jakarta: Indonesia police said on Friday they
had arrested top terror suspect Abu Tholut, seen as one of the
most dangerous Islamist extremists in the mainly Muslim
country.

Tholut, 49, is suspected of playing a lead role in the
formation of a militant training camp that was found in Aceh
province in February, as well as recruiting militants and
raising illegal funds for terror activity.

Police spokesman Djihartono said the suspect also known
as Mostofa, Pranata Yuda and Imron Baehaqi was arrested
without offering any resistance in Kudus, Central Java
province, this morning.

"He was arrested at his home and he made no attempt to
fight us," he said.

"We also found a firearm ... with eight bullets in the
magazine, and several bullets which were wrapped inside
plastic."

Tholut received militia training in Afghanistan during
the mujahideen war against the Soviets in the late 1980s and
became a leading figure in Southeast Asia`s Jemaah Islamiyah
(JI) terror network when he returned home.

He reportedly sent Islamic militants to fight Christians
in Sulawesi from 1998 to 2001 and served less than half of a
seven-year prison sentence handed down in 2004 for the bombing
of a shopping mall in Jakarta three years earlier.

The Central Java native also allegedly helped establish
training camps for Islamic militants in the Southern
Philippines, including the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group.

In recent years he reportedly split from JI and joined
another radical group called Jamaah Ansharut-Tauhid, set up by
extremist cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.

Bashir is in custody along with dozens of other militants
linked to the Aceh cell, which was allegedly planning attacks
against Westerners, the security forces and assassinations of
political leaders.

Security analysts said that despite going through a
deradicalisation programme in prison, Tholut was a key
coordinator for Islamist militants in Indonesia, who are bent
on creating a caliphate across much of Southeast Asia.

"There is no doubt that that he has military training
skill as he is an alumni of Afghanistan, Mindanao and Poso,"
Institute for International Peacebuilding researcher Taufik
Andrie said, referring to conflict zones in the Philippines
and Sulawesi.

"He is on the most-wanted list because of his skill in
training militants."

PTI



First Published: Friday, December 10, 2010 - 15:46

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