JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesian police have arrested the alleged leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, the Southeast Asian terror group blamed for the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings and a series of other attacks in recent years, a spokesman said Wednesday.
Abu Dujana, Indonesia's most wanted Islamic militant, was detained Saturday along with seven other suspected terrorists in raids on the country's main island of Java, said police spokesman Sisno Adiwinoto.
"Abu Dujana has been arrested," he told a media conference.
The capture of Dujana, an Afghan-trained militant fluent in Arabic, will be seen as a major victory in the fight against terrorism in Indonesia, a secular nation with the world's largest Muslim population.
Jemaah Islamiyah members have been blamed for four attacks on Western targets in Indonesia in recent years, including the Bali nightclub attacks that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.
Jemaah Islamiyah has also been blamed for attacks in the Philippines, while Malaysia and Singapore have arrested several dozen alleged members in recent years.
Adiwinoto said Tuesday that Dujana played a key role in all of the attacks and that he — like scores of other militants in Afghanistan in the late 80s and earlier 90s — personally met Usama bin Laden.
"He can assemble bombs and he can recruit members, so he is more important than" other key terror suspects Noordin Top, who remains at large, and Azahari bin Husin, who was shot and killed in a raid in 2005, he said.