Thu, 28 Aug 2003

Two suspected bombers arrested

Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Two men have been arrested in the West Sumatra capital of Padang for their apparent role in the Marriott bombing on Aug. 5, said Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Makbul Padmanagara on Wednesday.

"We have captured them ... They are now being questioned by the police," he said after the public appointments of several police chiefs.

Makbul refused to name the suspects but a senior police detective, who requested anonymity, confirmed that they were identified as Thohir and Jabir.

The police had been searching for them for more than two weeks. The explosion killed 12 people and injured 147 others.

The arrest was made on Sunday after police detectives managed to track them down in a nationwide search.

The detective said that Thohir was believed to be one of the key people in the Marriott bombing along with Asmar Latin Sani, the alleged suicide bomber.

Thohir was believed to be the one who got out of the Toyota Kijang van, heavily packed with explosives and fuel, just before it went off in the hotel's driveway.

The police declined to give details on the role of Jabir in the bombing.

Police announced earlier that they had arrested at least 10 suspects related to the bombing in several areas across the country.

A police source said that some of the suspects still on the run were Malaysian nationals Iqbal and Andi Syachrudin. Malikul, Datuk Rajo Ame, Toni Togar, Idris, M. Rois, Heru and Solichin were arrested in some areas in Sumatra and Java.

The police have also released photos of five wanted suspects including Malaysian Noor Din Mohd Top and alleged bombmakers in last year's Bali bombings, which claimed 202 lives, Dulmatin and Dr. Azahari.

Most of the arrested suspects have been accused of aiding and abetting the key members of the terrorist cell, apparently based in southern Sumatra and western Java.

"The explosives were first brought to Indonesia through Dumai in southern Sumatra from Malaysia by Iqbal and Andi Syachrudin, some time in 2000. The explosives consisted of six packages of explosive materials, sewn into several sacks," the source said.

The source also said that police lost track of the explosives after they got information in June, following the arrest several men now suspected of being involved with the Marriott bombers, that Asmar and Thohir were in Jakarta with the bombs.