ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Indonesian police to Verify Umar Patek's Arrest
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 Detik.com.
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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