Senior Jemaah Islamiyah leader in Pakistani custody


Umar Patek, from the Rewards for Justice website.

Pakistani officials have claimed that a top Indonesian terrorist linked to the 2002 bombings in Bali was recently arrested in Pakistan.

Umar Patek, the most wanted member of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, was arrested on March 2, according to Pakistani officials. The location and circumstances of Patek’s arrest were not disclosed.

Indonesia has dispatched a team of police and intelligence officials to Pakistan in an attempt to confirm the identity of the man. Pakistani officials are confident that the man captured is indeed Patek. Indonesia’s National Intelligence Agency later confirmed the man in custody was Pate, according to The Jakarta Post. His wife was also detained.

Indonesian officials are attempting to determine how he was able to leave the country. Patek is believed to have spent time in Bangkok, Thailand before entering Pakistan.

Although Patek’s purpose in Pakistan has not been disclosed, commanders of al Qaeda’s regional affiliates often travel to the country to meet with senior leadership to discuss funding, recruiting, and current and future operations. Commanders from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al Qaeda in Iraq, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and Jemaah Islamiyah are on occasion sighted in Pakistan.


Click the photo to view a presentation on Jemaah Islamiyah, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Southeast Asia. The presentation was created by Nick Grace and Bill Roggio in January 2008. AFP Photo.

Patek is one of the top remaining leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah who have fought with the group since the 1990s. He is among the leadership cadre who trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Pakistan during the 1980s and 1990s. Other top Jemaah Islamiyah leaders, such as Hambali, Noordin Mohammed Top, Dulmatin, Abu Rusdan, Mukhlas, Abu Dujana, and Zarkasih, have been killed or captured over the past decade.

The US government has put out a $1 million bounty out for Patek for his involvement in the 2002 bombing at the Bali nightclubs in Indonesia. Patek “served as the assistant for the field coordinator” of the Bali attack, according to the Rewards for Justice website. Seven US and 88 Australian citizens were killed in the attack.

Patek is thought to have fled Indonesia and joined up with members of Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines. While in the Philippines, he is thought to have led a Jemaah Islamiyah training camp in Mindanao.

Patek is believed to have returned to Indonesia sometime in 2010 to help establish an “al Qaeda in Aceh” training camp in Aceh. Indonesia is currently prosecuting Abu Bakar Bashir, the co-founder and spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, for his role in establishing and funding the Aceh terror camp. If convicted, Bashir can receive the death penalty.


Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Umar Patek is become #1 target of Indonesian Police after Noordin MTop and Dr. Azhari died. It’s a good cause one by one terrorist in the can arrested.

  • Paul D says:

    Al terrorism roads lead to Pakistan!

  • JT says:

    We are into the Spring fighting season and things seem to be relatively quiet in both Pakistan and Afghanistan (especially Kandahar and Helmand). I wonder if this means that the Taliban really is “decimated” as some reports say, or if they are preparing for a sudden large action.

  • jayc says:

    I realize that I am quoting the Pakistani Foreign Office, and please forgive me, but they have allowed the Indonesians access to whom they presume is the “real deal.”
    Today Pakistan gives Jakarta access to Bali bomb suspect Thursday, 31 March 2011


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