BALI, Indonesia – Indonesian investigators suspect several accomplices of the prime suspect in the Bali bombings may have fled to neighboring Malaysia, an intelligence official said Sunday.
Last week, police made their first breakthrough in the investigation when they arrested a suspect on Indonesia's main island of Java.
The suspect, identified as Amrozi, admitted owning an L300 Mitsubishi minivan that was filled with at least 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of explosives and blew up outside a packed nightclub on Bali on Oct. 12, killing nearly 200 people. Over the last two days, police have raided homes in Amrozi's home village of Tenggulun, looking for several of his friends and relatives. Police, however, said most of them had fled.
"We are looking for them in Malaysia. Most of them have gone there," said an intelligence official on Bali who asked not to be named.
On Friday, officers detained Muhammad Zakaria, the head of a local Islamic school in Tenggulun that Amrozi is said to have frequented.
Kompas daily newspaper reported that police found video compact discs showing military-style training at the school. The report could not be immediately confirmed. Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Edward Aritonang declined to speculate where Amrozi's alleged accomplices, believed to number around 10, may be hiding.
"What's clear is we are chasing them everywhere that we think they are hiding," said Aritonang.
The search for suspects in the blast is focused on Jemaah Islamiyah — the al-Qaida-linked terror group whose alleged aim is to form a pan-Islamic state in Southeast Asia.
Police have said Indonesians trained in Afghanistan or Libya were behind the bombing, citing the planning and expertise that were required.
Amrozi has admitted knowing two Muslim clerics: Riduan Isamudin — also known as Hambali — and Abu Bakar Bashir, said to be the leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah.
Police recently arrested the 64-year-old Bashir, the alleged spiritual leader of the group, on suspicion of involvement in a string of church bombings three years ago. So far, police have not named him as a suspect in the Bali attack.
Neighbors of Amrozi in Tenggulun said he went to Malaysia in the late 1980s to work in construction and the tourism industry. Intelligence sources believe he met with Jemaah Islamiyah members while he was there.
In their investigation, police have detained more than two dozen people for questioning — most because they resemble composite sketches of four suspects.
Among those detained is owner of a shop in Surabaya, East Java's capital, where Amrozi allegedly bought chemicals used in the Bali blasts.
The shop owner, Silvestor Tendean, has now been named a suspect by East Java police for selling explosives — some of which may have been used in the Bali blast, officers have said.
On Saturday, police searched a third-floor apartment in a residential neighborhood in the Balinese capital of Denpasar that Amrozi supposedly rented for two days. They said they found fingerprints that matched Amrozi's and residue of explosives they believed were used in the blast.