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SLUG: Indonesia Philippines - L only









INTRO: Indonesian police confirm that a man arrested in the Philippines and accused of being linked to the al-Qaida network is an Indonesian citizen. Nancy-Amelia Collins reports from Jakarta that police also plan to question a leader of an Islamist group about allegations tying him to the terror group.

TEXT: After nearly a week of confusion, Indonesian National Police spokesman Saleh Saaf says Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi is an Indonesian citizen. For days, Jakarta officials had indicated they did not think Mr. al-Ghozi was from the country.

Mr. al-Ghozi is the son of M. Zainuri, a politician from East Java, although Mr. Zainuri says he has lost contact with his son, who left Indonesia in 1997.

Philippine police arrested Mr. al-Ghozi based on information from Singapore that he was a leader of an Islamic group, Jemaah Islamiah, which operates in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Philippine authorities say the arrest led them to a supply of weapons and explosives that were meant for terror attacks in Southeast Asia. Three Filipinos also were arrested.

While Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines have arrested militants suspected of plotting terror attacks and being affiliated with the al-Qaida network, Indonesia has been reluctant to follow suit.

Its neighbors have been pressuring Jakarta to take action against allegedly radical Islamists.

One problem is that links to al-Qaida, the group led by suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden, are vague. Political analyst Diarmid O'Sullivan, with the non-profit International Crisis Group, says Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri is playing it safe.


She has to be very careful about antagonizing the devout Muslim constituency within Indonesia. That constituency doesn't necessarily share the same views as al-Qaida or groups that think like al-Qaida, but it doesn't necessarily want to see harsh action taken against Islamic activists at the behest of a country like the United States, or indeed, of other countries in the region.

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An official in the small Islamic group, the Mujahidin Council, this week has warned the government that it could face a backlash if it cracked down on militant organizations.

Indonesian police said Tuesday that they will question Abu Bakar Bashir on Thursday, the head of the Mujahidin Council. The group is trying to get Sharia, or Islamic law, implemented in Indonesia. Authorities in Singapore and Malaysia suspect Mr. Bashir has ties to al-Qaida and other terrorist groups. He has denied the allegations. (Signed)


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