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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        30  March 2011

Indonesian police to Verify Umar Patek's Arrest

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The Indonesian National Police say they will communicate with the Pakistani police to verify the reported arrest of Umar Patek, a senior Indonesian Al Qaeda operative wanted in the 2002 Bali bombings.

Patek, 40, a suspected member of the Al Qaeda-linked militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, was arrested earlier this year in Pakistan, foreign intelligence sources said on Tuesday.

“We will confirm the news with Pakistani police as soon as possible,” the National Police chief of detectives Comr. Gen. Ito Sumardi told news portal

Ito said Patek was still the National Police’s most wanted terrorist.

“We will do everything in our power to arrest him, he’s our most wanted suspect,” he said.

Patek, a Javanese Arab, is well-known to intelligence agencies across the world. He is believed to have served as he group’s deputy field commander in the nightclub bombings that left 202 people dead, many of them foreigners.

The United States was offering a $1 million reward for the arrest of the slight Patek — who’s known as the “little Arab” — in the attack that killed seven Americans.

Patek is believed to have been among a group of Indonesians, Malaysians and Filipinos who traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan during the 1980s and 1990s for training and fighting.

Upon their return to Southeast Asia, they formed Jemaah Islamiyah, blamed for a string of suicide bombings targeting nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, and a Western embassy in Indonesia. Together more than 260 people have died.

Patek fled to the southern Philippines after the Bali bombings, seeking refuge and training with both the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and later, Abu Sayyaf, security experts have said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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