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Police Arrest Suspected Bali Bombing Mastermind - 2002-11-21

Police in Indonesia say they have caught the suspected mastermind behind last month's bomb attack in Bali. At least 190 people died in the blast in a popular Bali tourist district.

National Police chief General Dai Bachtiar says Imam Samudra was arrested in West Java late on Thursday afternoon. The general says Mr. Samudra was arrested as he tried to board a ferry for the island of Sumatra. He says the suspect made no attempt to resist arrest. Police made a breakthrough in their pursuit of Mr. Samudra when they arrested two of his bodyguards earlier this week.

General Bachtiar says information provided by the two led to the arrest of Mr. Samudra.

Authorities announced earlier this month that they think Mr. Samudra was the mastermind behind the October 12 bombing in Bali. A van packed with 50 kilograms of explosives was detonated outside two nightclubs in a popular tourist district.

Mr. Samudra is the second suspect arrested so far. Police also have in custody a man identified as Amrozi. Officials say he admitted it was his van used in the blast.

Authorities say both Mr. Amrozi and Mr. Samudra use several different names.

Mr. Samudra is from West Java and in his mid-thirties. Police say he learned how to make bombs during several visits to Afghanistan.

Some officials including Indonesia's defense Minister have said that Mr. Samudra is a member of Jemaah Islamiyah - a group that Washington charges has links to the al-Qaeda terrorist network. Police in Bali, however, have so far not made that connection.

Police say they 10 to 12 people were involved in the bombing plot.