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Monday, 23 December, 2002, 23:26 GMT
Malaysia and Indonesia boost ties
Malaysian terror suspects Doctor Azahari (L), and Noordin Mohammad Thob (R)
Two of the named suspects are Malaysians
Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to work more closely together to exchange intelligence and arrest those wanted in each other's countries.

The move came as Indonesia named two Malaysians as suspects in October's deadly bomb attacks in Bali.

Mukhlas is one of the suspects who attended the school in Jahore
University lecturer Doctor Azahari, believed to have supplied bomb-making expertise, and Noordin Mohammad Thob, suspected of raising funds, were named on Monday by Indonesian police, together with four Indonesian suspects.

There is growing evidence of a strong Malaysian connection to the web of violent Islamic militant groups in South-East Asia.

'Expert in weaponry'

A police spokesman for the investigation, Edward Aritonang, speaking on ElShinta radio, called Dr Azahari "an expert in weaponry and bomb making".

Dr Azahari and a fellow lecturer at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in the southern state of Jahore are already high on Malaysia's most wanted list.

Two of Bali bomb blasts suspects Mukhlas (left) and Amrozi (right), who are brothers, smile during a police reconstruction, Solo, Central Java  21 December 2002.
Some of those arrested have taken part in police reconstructions
Many alleged Islamic militant leaders spent time at a religious school in Jahore in the 1990s.

The Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir - allegedly the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), the group blamed for the Bali attacks - taught there.

Two men already arrested over the Bali attacks were also at the school, as was Hambali, allegedly al-Qaeda's senior commander in the region.

Malaysians have also been accused of having links to the 11 September hijackers, and questions have been asked about why Malaysia's security services did not act sooner.

More than 70 alleged militants have been arrested in the last 15 months, but most of the major figures are thought to have fled the country.

Additional suspects

The six suspects named on Monday are in addition to five wanted Indonesians whose photos and descriptions were published last month.

Fifteen other suspects are already in custody over the Bali attacks, which killed at least 190 people.

One of the Indonesians named on Monday is Zulkarnain, also called Arif Sunarso or Daud - who police say is the leader of a militia linked to JI.

Also on the newly released list is:

  • Saad Al Achmad Roishan, the owner of the house in Solo where documents of interest were found;
  • Heri Hafidin, who allegedly recruited people for the bombing and earlier robberies;
  • and Hutomo Pamungkas, alias Mubarok, who has a bank account into which funds were allegedly transferred.

The key Bali suspects among the 15 people already arrested are:

  • Mukhlas, alias Ali Gufron, the alleged operations chief of JI
  • Imam Samudra, who is believed to have masterminded the bombing
  • Amrozi, a younger brother of Mukhlas, who is said to have provided the van used in the blast.

On Sunday the three main suspects took part in a police reconstruction of the final meeting they allegedly held to plan the 12 October attacks.

Their lawyers were reportedly keen for the reconstruction to take place because they believe it could help prove their clients' innocence.

Police have said they expect trials to start in February.

The BBC's Rachel Harvey in Jakarta
"The investigation into the attacks is gathering pace"
BBC correspondent Brenda Marshall
"A man who Indonesian police suspect of supplying the money for the Bali bombings"

Key stories




See also:

16 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
30 Nov 02 | Africa
12 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
11 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
08 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
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