Sat, 23 Aug 2003

Alleged Yemeni citizen detained in Papua

TIMIKA, Papua: Police here said on Friday they are detaining a Yemeni citizen, identified as Ubaida Al Hamid, 30, on charges of illegal entry into Indonesia.

The man was arrested at Mile 22 in Tembagapura, Mimika regency, close to the compound of American gold and copper mining firm PT Freeport Indonesia, said local police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Paulus Waterpauw.

He said Al Hamid failed to show his passport and visa or other documents when arrested. "He just gave us copies of his ID and birth certificate issued in Tual (North Maluku)," he told journalists in Timika, Mimika regency.

Paulus said the suspect claimed he is an Indonesian of Yemeni descent, who was born in 1973 in the Central Java city of Surakarta.

His father was of Saudi Arabian descent and a resident of Surakarta, while his mother, Ummu Kulsum, was from Yemen, Paulus quoted Al Hamid as saying.

He said the suspect told police he taught Islam and delivered sermons at mosques during his stay in Mimika, although he is not fluent in Bahasa Indonesia.

"It's strange that a foreign citizen comes to Indonesia without a official permit and carries out religious activities. This is what we need to investigate," Paulus said. --JP