Thu, 04 Dec 2003

Police announce arrest of terrorist suspect

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The National Police dismissed reports of abduction of an Islamic activist by announcing his arrest on suspicion of illegal possession of guns and explosives.

Deputy spokesman for the National Police Brig. Gen. Soenarko said the suspect, Taufik Achmad, was arrested in Kudus, Central Java on Sunday and had been flown to Jakarta for questioning,

Taufik's wife, Nur Alifah, 34, said neither she nor any of her family members had received any arrest warrant. They said Taufik was abducted by five unidentified assailants in a minivan in broad daylight on Sunday.

"We have arrested Taufik through proper legal procedures, not through abduction. We have kept the copy of the arrest warrant that we gave to his family," Soenarko said.

He asserted the police had sufficient evidence of Taufik's involvement in a group whose house on Jl. Sri Rejeki in the Central Java capital of Semarang was raided by the police in July of this year.

The police seized from the house over 1,000 bomb detonators, 30 bags of potassium chlorate weighing 30 kilograms each, four boxes of TNT, 65 PETN detonators, 11 shoulder-launched rockets, more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition, two M-16s, timers, batteries, maps and documents and arrested nine suspects between July 4 and July 11 in several cities, including Semarang and Magelang in Central Java, and Jakarta.

"Taufik managed to escape when police raided the storehouse on July 11 on Jl. Sri Rejeki. We were only recently able to trace him," said Soenarko.

The alleged leader of the group, Mustofa who is being detained in Jakarta, has been identified by the other suspects as the owner of the detonators and explosives.

National Police chief Gen. Da'i Bachtiar has said two of the nine suspects were thought to be senior members of Jamaah Islamiyah (JI), which has been blamed for the Bali blasts last October and the JW Marriott Hotel bombing on Aug. 5.

Taufik is also linked to another terrorist suspect, Abu Rusdan, who is now standing trial on charges of harboring Ali Gufron alias Muklas, who has been sentenced to death in the Bali Bombing case.

Sutarno, one of Taufik's neighbors, said on Tuesday that he once saw Taufik with Rusdan.