Bali blast suspect admits link with al-Qaeda group

Wed, Nov 27, 2002, 00:00

The alleged field commander of the group who carried out the Bali bomb blasts has admitted an association with an al-Qaeda representative in Southeast Asia, according to Indonesia's police chief.

Mr Imam Samudra was arrested last Thursday and police say he has confessed to carrying out the October 12th nightclub blasts that killed more than 190 people.

Earlier, an intelligence official said Mr Samudra was acting on orders from Mr Riduan Isamuddin, known as Hambali, the alleged operations chief of the al-Qaeda linked terror group Jemaah Islamiyah.

"At the beginning he [Samudra] denied knowing Hambali, but when we showed him the evidence he finally admitted to knowing Hambali. He met him in Malaysia," said National Police Chief General Da'i Bachtiar.

The revelation strengthens the assertion by intelligence officials both in Indonesia and other countries in the region that Jemaah Islamiyah was behind the Bali blasts.

Hambali has been implicated in operations ranging from logistical support for the September 11th hijackers in America to bombings in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Authorities are hoping that Mr Samudra's capture will provide clues on the whereabouts of Hambali, who remains Southeast Asia's most wanted man.

PA