Indonesia arrests leader of al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group

Indonesian counter-terrorism forces arrested Abu Rusdan, who is believed to be the key leader of the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group.

“Abu Rusdan is now known to be an active member of the leadership of the Jemaah Islamiyah network,” said Indonesian police spokesman Ahmad Ramadhan on September 13, referring to the group being on the US terrorist list and affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Rusdan was arrested on September 10 in the city of Bekasi near the capital Jakarta, along with three other people suspected of being members of Jemaah Islamiyah. Ramadhan said the arrests were part of a nationwide campaign against Jemaah Islamiyah. Police are still looking for other members, as the group is said to be recruiting and training new members in Indonesia.

Abu Rusdan (centre) is escorted after a court hearing in Jakarta, Indonesia, in November 2003.  Photo: AP.

Abu Rusdan (centre) is escorted after a court hearing in Jakarta, Indonesia, in November 2003. Photo: AP.

The Jemaah Islamiyah network is believed to have carried out a number of attacks in the Philippines and Indonesia, including a 2002 bombing on the island of Bali that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

Rusdan, 61, was sentenced in 2003 to prison for covering up Ali Ghufron, the militant who was executed for carrying out the Bali bombings. After his release in 2006, Rusdan traveled the country giving lectures and preaching, with videos receiving tens of thousands of views on YouTube. In a lecture, Rusdan praised Afghanistan, where he had trained with other rebel groups.

Wawan Hari Purwanto, a spokesman for Indonesia’s National Intelligence Service, said earlier this month that after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, authorities had stepped up efforts to detect and prevent terrorist groups “linked to the relationship” Taliban ideology and networks”.

Indonesian officials say that over the past year counter-terrorism forces have arrested dozens of militants and suspects from the Jemaah Islamiyah network, including Zulkarnaen, who is believed to be the group’s military leader and has been wanted for more than 18 years. .

Luster (Follow AP)

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