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Indonesia Police Release Sketches of Bali Suspects - 2002-10-30


Indonesian police have released sketches of three men they think are connected to the deadly bombing in Bali earlier this month.

Police held simultaneous media conferences in the capital Jakarta and on the island of Bali to release the sketches of three Indonesian men between the ages of 20 and 30.

Police in Jakarta said the men are wanted for questioning as possible suspects in connection to October 12 bombing in Bali.

The sketches were made through descriptions provided by witnesses who saw the men at the crime scene, said Colonel Prasetyo, a police spokesman in Jakarta. It is possible, he said, that they are the ones who planted the bombs or who masterminded the bombing. However, he described them only as possible suspects.

In Bali, however, the head of the investigation, General Made Pastika, said the men are consider official suspects in the blast. More than 190 people died and hundreds were injured when bombs tore apart two nightclubs in Kuta, a crowded Bali tourist district. Many of the dead are foreign tourists. The bombing is the worst apparent terrorist attack since the September 11 attacks in the United States. Indonesia is heading a team of international investigators - including police from Australia and the United States - who are working to determine who carried out the bombing. So far no arrests have been made in the case, but suspicion has fallen on the regional militant group, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). Regional governments and the United States have been pressuring Jakarta for months to arrest JI suspects in Indonesia. They say JI has links to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network. Both the U.S. State Department and the United Nations last week designated JI an official terrorist organization. Until the Bali bombing, Indonesia said it lacked the evidence to go after suspected terrorists. Days after the blast, the government pushed through emergency anti-terrorism decrees, which make it easier to arrest suspects.

The first high-profile suspect arrested was Abu Bakar Bashir, an Indonesian cleric who allegedly heads JI. Mr. Bashir is to face police questioning over his alleged involvement in a series of bombings across Indonesia on Christmas Eve in 2000. So far authorities have not linked Mr. Bashir to the Bali bombing, and he denies all charges of terrorism. Mr. Bashir is now being held in a police hospital in the Indonesian capital. He has complained of health problems for the past 12 days.

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