Indonesian police commissioner-general Erwin Map, part of his country’s delegation to an ASEAN police conference in the Filipino capital Manila, said on Thursday that “Hambali actively organised all the bombings in Indonesia,” even though he left that country after the December 2000 bombings.
Hambali, who was born Riduan Isamuddin, was arrested by Thai and US authorities in Thailand in mid-August and is detained by the United States in an undisclosed location.
He was the suspected pointsman for Asia of al-Qaida group. He also doubled as the operations chief of JI, a Southeast Asian network blamed for the Bali and Marriott hotel blasts and a string of other attacks.
“The bombings that happened in Indonesia are coordinated by Hambali which is under the JI,” Map told a news conference.
Map said, in the information shared by the US, the Marriot bombing cost between $45,000 to $50,000 and that the bomb was built elsewhere in Indonesia, but was transported from town to town until it reached the hotel.
The Marriot blast was the latest
Even as Hambali travelled from Thailand, to south Cambodia, the Philippines, Malaysia and even Afghanistan, he had to approve all proposed bombing plans of JI in Indonesia, Map said.
“Every project to be undertaken had to be submitted to Hambali,” Map said, speaking through an interpreter on the sidelines of the conference.
“If the proposal is accepted, they prepare three areas,” he said, namely the bomb, the target and the funding.
Map said that while Indonesia was in touch with the US on Hambali, they still had not yet been given a chance to question him.
The actual bombing at the Marriott was carried out by two Malaysians, Azahari Husin and Noorudin Muhammad Top, the Indonesian official said, adding that the two were believed to be still in Indonesia.
He said they were on alert in case the two suspects fled to Thailand, Singapore or the Philippines, the possible hiding places of JI members.
“Every project to be undertaken had to be submitted to Hambali”
The JI had divided the region into four “mantikis” or areas of operations.
Mantiki 1 referred to Malaysia and Singapore, where they raised their funding. That was why they refrained from carrying out bombings in those areas, Map said.
Mantiki 2, covering Sumatra, Java and Lombok, was the “jihad area” where bombings took place while Mantiki 3, covering Brunei, Sabah, Kalimantan and the southern Philippines, was the “training zone of the JI.”
It was in the southern Philippines that some JI members were trained to carry out bombings and where they picked up some of the explosives, Map said, without giving details.
Mantiki 4 covered the Malukus, Papua, West Timor and North Australia, but it had not yet been activated, Map said.
He admitted that one problem was the weak border controls that allowed JI fugitives to flee from one southeast Asian country to another. “Our borders seem to be weak and they cross borders easily,” he added.