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Location of Hambali top-secret JAKARTA - Terror mastermind Hambali was still "in another country", Indonesia's police chief said today despite senior Thai officials saying he was flown to Indonesia after his arrest. Asked if Hambali will be brought to Indonesia, General Dai Bachtiar replied: "Not yet. Not yet." "We are thankful that the person we have been looking for has apparently been found, although he is still in another country," he said.
"We hope to be given an opportunity to extract or obtain information from the person involved. It's just a matter of when. But some information from America has already been given to us for us to develop later." Thai Defence Minister Thamarak Issarangkun Na Ayutthaya said earlier in Bangkok that Hambali and his wife were arrested in Thailand on Monday and were sent back to Indonesia on Wednesday.
Top Indonesian officials made it clear the suspected senior al-Qaeda official is in US custody but said they want him to stand trial in Indonesia eventually. Hambali, said Bachtiar, is an Indonesian citizen "so we will have him accountable before this country's laws". The United States on Thursday announced the capture of Hambali, who is a strong ally of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the former operations chief of regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
Hambali is the top suspect in last October's Bali nightclub bombings, which killed 202 people and have been blamed on JI, and in a string of other attacks in Indonesia including church bombings on Christmas Eve 2000 which killed 19 people. Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda, asked whether Hambali is in Indonesia, said: "It's just a rumour.
"We understand that Hambali is under the custody of US authorities. We have an interest in obtaining information from the result of his interrogation," Wirayuda said. The policeman who led the investigation which netted more than 30 Bali bombing suspects, I Made Mangku Pastika, said he hoped Hambali would be returned to Indonesia. "Right now Hambali is an American prisoner," El Shinta radio quoted him as saying.
One of the few people who might know Hambali's location was not saying. Asked if he was in Indonesia, ambassador Ralph Boyce said: "I have not seen any such reports so I wouldn't want to comment on that nor do I think it important to focus on his immediate whereabouts." "This is a major victory in the war on terror," Boyce said.
He said the focus should be "on how this arrest can help us work together to prevent further attacks that may have been planned, that might have taken innocent lives of Indonesians among others". Wirayuda said he expected Hambali to be handed over to Jakarta in due course to face justice. "We welcome the arrest of Hambali as one of the international terrorist leaders," he said.
"At the point America doesn't need Hambali any more, he will then be handed over to us because we have a need in the context of terrorist acts in various places in Indonesia, so we can investigate and bring him to justice in Indonesia." The Foreign Minister said there was no extradition agreement with the US "but legal co-operation makes it possible (to work together)". Top security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono congratulated "all parties involved in this international co-operation".
"For Indonesia it is important because Hambali is connected to a number of acts of terror in the past and it is possible that this group is also planning similar actions in future," Yudhoyono said. Asked about Hambali's possible transfer to Indonesia, Yudhoyono said: "That can wait." Security appeared normal at Bali police headquarters, where the bomb suspects are detained. "He (Hambali) is definitely not in Bali," said provincial police spokeswoman Pangasihan Gaut.



Posted in Terrorism @ 15 August 2003 00:03 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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