Indonesian authorities said on Tuesday they arrested a suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings who later ran a jihadi training camp in the Philippines, and two other men with ties to top terrorists after uncovering a new plot against police.
National police spokesman Brig Gen Anton Bachrul Alam said on Tuesday that the alleged Bali bomber, Heru Kuncoro, was captured June 9 in Pekalongan, a town in central Java.
Police say Kuncoro was a facilitator who purchased electronic equipment for the Bali bombing that killed 202 people, mainly foreigners, and thrust Indonesia into the front lines of the battle against terrorism. He is among the 16 men arrested in recent days in Java, Borneo and Sulawesi on suspicion of plotting to kill police with cyanide.
Some told police they had received military-style training in a mountainous area of Poso in Sulawesi during 2010. They said they were waging jihad against police for killing top terrorist leaders such as Noordin Top the bomb-making expert who orchestrated all of the major suicide bombings targeting Westerners in Indonesia, including the Bali nightclub blasts.
Extremists in Indonesia have increasingly targeted police in the past year or so as an ongoing security crackdown has disrupted terrorists' ability to launch large-scale attacks.
One of those arrested in the cyanide raids, Budi Untung Wisesa, died during interrogation and police said an autopsy showed he died from a heart attack. Local media quoted relatives saying they had found a wound on Wisesa's head.
Kuncoro fled to the Philippines in 2003 with Dulmatin, an alleged mastermind of the Bali bombing who was killed in an Indonesian police raid last year.
The pair teamed up with Umar Patek, another Bali bombing suspect, to run a jihadi training camp in the southern Philippines. Patek was arrested in Pakistan in January.
Two of men netted in the cyanide raids, identified only as Faisal and Juarni, were believed to be couriers for Dulmatin and Patek and helped to smuggle weapons from the Philippines to Indonesia, Alam said.
He said the two were involved in attacks that killed two policemen last month in Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi province, and an April suicide bombing in Cirebon in West Java that wounded 30 in a mosque packed with police.
Alam said the extent of the cyanide plot became clear on Friday with the arrest of From Santanam, a militant, in the capital Jakarta.
"They had planned to poison food and mineral water provided for police officers in canteens across Java and Bali," he said.
The haul from the raids included four M-16 rifles, pistols, two bottles of cyanide and 29 videos about jihad.