Temanggung Terror Raid Body May Be Hotel Florist, Not Noordin Top

By webadmin on 03:13 pm Aug 11, 2009
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Farouk Arnaz, Febriamy Hutapea & Nivell Rayda

A National Police spokesman on Monday all but confirmed that Malaysian terror suspect Noordin M Top was still alive, while a senior police source said the body recovered from a weekend raid in Central Java was that of Ibrahim, a missing suspect from one of two Jakarta hotels hit by suicide bombers last month.

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Nanan Sukarno declined to confirm the identity of the body now at a police hospital
in East Jakarta, saying that he was awaiting the results of DNA tests. However, he let slip that Noordin could still be alive and at large when he said, “We can’t wait to get our hands on Noordin too.”

Nanan also acknowledged that the tip-off that Noordin was hiding in a house in Beji, Temanggung, had come from Aris and Hendra, two terror suspects arrested there on Friday shortly before more than 150 police officers encircled the house. The two men were flown from Yogyakarta to Jakarta for questioning on Monday.

“Both of them confessed to us that it was Noordin. However, we do not trust them. We are still waiting for the DNA results,” Nanan said, adding that the body’s DNA would be compared to samples taken from members of Noordin’s family.

Two senior counterterrorism officials told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday that the body was not Noordin, and that Southeast Asia’s most wanted fugitive remained at large.

On Monday, a senior police counterterrorism source said that the body was that of Ibrahim, also known as Boim, 40, a florist at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel who went missing after the July 17 blasts there and at the nearby JW Marriott Hotel.

“It is Ibrahim. We know that it’s him as we conducted a fingerprint test on the dead body,” the source said. “Now we are conducting DNA tests to confirm that the body is his.”

The source said that Ibrahim had moved through several cities in Central Java before arriving in Temanggung.

Muhjahri, the owner of the house in Temanggung, was still being questioned at Yogyakarta Police headquarters on Monday.

Meanwhile, House of Representatives Speaker Agung Laksono urged police to reveal the identity of the man who was killed in the weekend raid.

“If it’s not Noordin, just tell us who he is and what’s their [police] prediction concerning Noordin, because the situation has created restlessness among the people,” Agung said during a House session.

He also said the revelation that terror suspects had planned to bomb President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s private residence in Cikeas, Bogor, meant that all other key buildings should be closely guarded.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Kurniawan, the lawyer for the families of Air Setyawan and Eko Joko Sarjono, two men who were shot dead during a police raid on a house in Jati Asih, Bekasi, on Saturday morning, said that police had yet to allow family members to view their bodies.

“Until we do, the families are still not 100 percent convinced that their sons were killed in the raid,” Muhammad said.

DNA samples from Agus Purwanto and Slamet Widodo, the fathers of Air and Eko, respectively, had been taken, he added.

Police told the lawyer and the families to wait three to five days until the police forensics team had definitive results.

Noordin tops the list of the country’s most wanted criminals, with authorities accusing him of involvement in a series of bombing over the past seven years, including the 2002 bombings of two Bali nightclubs that killed 202 people.

He has also been linked to bomb attacks on the JW Marriott in Jakarta in 2003, the Australian Embassy here in 2004 and the 2005 bombings of restaurants in Bali. He has had several narrow escapes since but is now believed to still be on the run from authorities.