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Terror arrest 'won't diminish threat'

There are many other militants like Umar Patek waiting in the wings, says expert

Sidney Jones (photo courtesy of pemiluindonesia.com) Sidney Jones (photo courtesy of pemiluindonesia.com)
  • Konradus Epa, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • April 1, 2011
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The recent arrest of an alleged mastermind behind the 2002 Bali bombings will not dent the terrorist threat in Indonesia as there are still many militants to deal with, an expert on Islamic radicalism and terrorism said today.

“Other leaders like Umar Patek will show themselves,” said Sidney Jones of the International Crisis Group.

Umar Patek, a deputy commander of al-Qaeda’s Southeast Asian affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah, was arrested by officials in Pakistan.

As well as the Bali blasts which killed over 200 people, the 40-year-old Javanese is also suspected of being behind hotel bombings in Jakarta in 2003 and 2009.

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

Jones, who has produced a series of reports on Jemaah Islamiyah, warned that many terrorists in Indonesia and the Philippines maintain good networks.

“Umar Patek has taught his followers about his radical ideology,” she said.

It is not enough to arrest and put terrorist suspects in jail, according to Jones.  “We must focus on their ideology as it has been instilled in young people’s minds.”

Militants have adopted a new strategy of establishing small groups with 8-10 members and a leader in order to continue their fight, she warned.

Such small groups have been operating in several parts of Indonesia including Bandung, Banten, Central Java, Lombok, Medan, Padang, Poso and West Nusa Tenggara, she said.

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