Why was Bali Bomb Suspect in Bin Laden’s Hideout City?
Farouk Arnaz & AP
Suspected terrorist Umar Patek had been in Abbottabad — the Pakistani town where Osama bin Laden was killed — and had been on his way to Afghanistan to wage jihad before his capture by Pakistani officials in January.
Ansyaad Mbai, head of antiterror at the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, confirmed on Wednesday that Patek had been in Abbottabad for less than a year, and had been en route to Afghanistan to wage jihad.
Antiterror official Chairul Akbar said he went there in August last year and was aiming to meet Osama Bin Laden to get his “support and protection,” adding: “He was instructed to go to Abbottabad to meet other militants.”
Patek, a deputy commander of Al Qaeda’s Southeast Asian affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah, is accused of helping carry out the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.
Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro was reported on Wednesday as stating that Patek had been in Abbottabad to meet Bin Laden.
“The information we have is that Umar Patek … was in Pakistan with his Filipino wife trying to meet Osama Bin Laden,” he said.
While analysts say Al Qaeda’s influence in Indonesia has waned, it has in the past had direct links with JI.