Another Jemaah Islamiyah leader captured in Indonesia

Friday, June 15, 2007

File:021018 bali bombing.jpg

Flags from Australia, Indonesia and the United States hang at the site of the 2002 Bali bombings.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Police in Indonesia said today that they have captured the top leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist organization.

The man, known as Zarkasih, or Mbah, was captured last Saturday in Yogyakarta on Java, the same day another Jemaah Islamiyah leader, Abu Dujana, was captured, also on Java.

Jemaah Islamiyah, believed to be connected to the al-Qaeda terrorist network, is blamed for several acts of terrorism in Indonesia, including the 2002 Bali bombings, the 2003 Marriott Hotel bombing, the 2004 Jakarta embassy bombing and the 2005 Bali bombings.

Police said Zarkasih, 45, confessed to being the head of Jemaah Islamiyah. He is also known as Mbah, which means "grandfather" in Javanese language. Police said he came to prominence as the organization's other leaders were captured or went into hiding.

"I became the emergency head in 2005," Zarkasih said in a videotaped confession, which police played for reporters.

Abu Dujana, 39, was head of Jemaah Islamiyah's military operations, police said. He is believed have directed anti-Christian attacks and beheadings in Poso, Central Sulawesi, and had taken part in the 2003 and 2004 hotel and embassy bombings in Jakarta.

Police said both Zarkasih and Abu Dujana left Indonesia in the 1980s for Afghanistan, where they likely developed links with al-Qaeda.