Indonesian police today detained a man they suspect of storing weapons and explosives for Amrozi, the chief suspect in the Oct.12 bombing of two Bali nightclubs.
After questioning Komarudin, a friend of Amrozi's and a forest ranger in this East Java village, police here recovered two canisters, one of which contained five weapons, including two M-16s and one AK-47. Police suspect the weapons came from Ambon, capital of the Molucca Islands in eastern Indonesia that have been riven by tensions between Muslims and Catholics.
Officials would not reveal the contents of the second canister, but Bali police spokesman Yatim Suyatmo said it might contain an explosive device.
The police are making rapid advances in their investigation following the arrest last Tuesday of Amrozi and raids over the weekend at properties in Tenggulun, a village in the Lamongan district, and in Bali. Amrozi and Komarudin, like many Indonesians, use one name.
On Sunday night, police detained another villager, Tafsir, 38, who they said drove Amrozi in his Mitsubishi L-300 van to Bali before the two nearly simultaneous explosions, which killed almost 200 people, most of them foreign tourists. Police have traced the larger explosion, at the Sari Club, to the van owned by Amrozi.
Today, Maj. Gen. I Made Pastika, who heads the international police investigation, told reporters that Amrozi was a student of Abubakar Baasyir, a radical Muslim cleric who founded Pondok Pesantren Ngruki, an Islamic boarding school, in Solo in central Java in 1972. "Abubakar Baasyir is a major preacher who has many students," Pastika said at a news conference in Bali. "One of his students is Amrozi."
Baasyir has been in police custody since Oct. 19 for his suspected involvement in a series of church bombings two years ago.
But Amrozi's brother, Mohammed H. Khozin, who founded the Al Islam boarding school here, said that Amrozi never studied at Baasyir's school and that Amrozi had merely attended lectures Baasyir has given at Al Islam.
Baasyir, speaking from his bed at a police hospital, told the Reuters news agency today that he had been to the school in Amrozi's village twice but denied knowing Amrozi.
Baasyir, Pastika said, was a co-founder of the Jemaah Islamiah militant Muslim network in Malaysia. That is the clearest link Indonesian police have drawn between Baasyir and Jemaah Islamiah. Until now, police have described him as the network's spiritual leader.
But Pastika said police have not found any evidence that Baasyir ordered Amrozi to conduct the blast. "So there is a missing link between . . . Baasyir and Amrozi," he added.
Sunday and today, police went to the central Java cities of Solo and Yogyakarta and to Tasikmalaya in West Java looking for suspects, according to investigators.