Wed, 15 Jan 2003

Police arrest two more suspects in Bali blasts

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

The arrest by the police in East Kalimantan on Monday of two more terrorist suspects is expected to provide another breakthrough for the Oct. 12 Bali terror investigation since the ongoing probe still has a number of questions unanswered.

The arrests occurred the same day that the prosecutor's office in Denpasar returned main suspect Amrozi's dossier to the police to be completed.

Chief investigator Insp. Gen. I Made Mangku Pastika confirmed on Tuesday that Ali Imron, alias Ale, as well as Hutomo Pamungkas, alias Mubarok, were arrested by the investigating team on the Berukang Islands off Samarinda, East Kalimantan, where they had been hiding for two weeks, possibly trying to escape abroad.

"The police had discovered the two suspects' presence on the island two weeks ago, but we needed more preparations before they were arrested on Monday," he said.

Pastika said the suspects were believed to be attempting to enter Malaysia or the Philippines to avoid arrest.

"The two are still being held in Samarinda and we don't know whether they will be transferred to Jakarta, East Java or Denpasar but they will undergo police interrogation immediately," he said.

The police have arrested 17 suspects in Denpasar and several others in East Java, Central Java and western Java in connection with the Bali bombing and are still seeking perhaps 11 others, including two Malaysians.

Among the 11 still at large are Dulmatin and Idris, two key suspects in the bombing, and two Malaysian citizens Azhari and Wan Min. Azhari, a chemical expert, is known to be a bombing planner for Jamaah Islamiyah (JI) while Man Win is known to be the chief treasurer of the UN-blacklisted Islamic organization.

"The two are expected to reveal other suspects' hiding places and sources of financial support," said Pastika.

Separately, the newly appointed deputy chief of the investigation team, Brig. Gen. Edy Danardi, said the arrest of the two suspects had a special importance to the police investigation because Hutomo is believed to have knowledge of the financial transactions with regard to a series of bomb blasts, including the Bali tragedy that claimed almost 200 people, mostly Australians, and wounded more than 320 others.

Edy added that Ali Imron, the younger brother of key suspect Amrozi, was arrested for possession and concealment of a number of guns and explosives in a forest area near his home in Lamongan, East Java following the arrest of his older brother Amrozi and it is also believed that he played a role as the bomb assembler in the deadly attack.

Hutomo was arrested for his role as a treasurer for one of the main planners Imam Samudra. Imam was arrested in Merak, Banten in November on his way to Sumatra to avoid arrest.

"Hutomo is expected to reveal the financiers of the bombing, while Ali is expected to reveal more information about the explosives used in the bombing," he said.

Thus far, the police have not revealed who financially supported the suspects to launch the attack.

The other main suspect Mukhlas, Amrozi's older brother, confessed to investigators that Malaysian Wan Min channeled US$30,000 through him to Imam who later denied it and said he and his cell robbed a jewelry store in Serang, Banten, to finance the bombing.

In addition, the police have yet to settle on the exact type of explosives which were used in the blasts and who were held responsible for the blasts in Paddy's Cafe, Sari Club and Renon respectively.

They have some evidence RDX was used as a booster in addition to other explosive chemicals, known to have been purchased by Amrozi, to make the blast in Paddy's Cafe and Sari Club more powerful.

Edy said further that the police would delay the submission of the dossiers on the other suspects to prosecutors after Amrozi's 1,623-page dossier was returned because it was not complete.

"No dossiers will be delivered to the government prosecutor's office this week while we are completing Amrozi's dossier because the suspects' dossiers all need to be consistent," he said.

He explained that the returning of Amrozi's dossier was related to administrative matters and not material ones.