Minister: Patek planned to meet bin Laden

May 5, 2011 at 1:33 AM
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JAKARTA, May 5 (UPI) -- Umar Patek, Indonesia's most wanted terror suspect, arrested in January in Abbottabad, Pakistan, was there to meet Osama bin Laden, an Indonesian minister said.

Al-Qaida leader bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces Monday during a raid on his compound in the garrison town of Abbottabad, northeast of Islamabad.

Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said Patek was in Pakistan with his wife to meet with bin Laden, the Jakarta Post reported Thursday. The report said the two were suspected to have traveled to Pakistan using false passports.

Patek is being held in Pakistan but Indonesian investigators want to bring him back.

The Post said Patek, the deputy commander of Jemaah Islamiyah, al-Qaida's Southeast Asian affiliate, is a suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.

Writing in Wednesday's edition of the Jakarta Post, Sidney Jones, senior adviser at the International Crisis Group, said bin Laden is being hailed as a hero and martyr by Indonesian radical groups, who may hold demonstrations against the United States.

Jones wrote Indonesian authorities need to ask Patek "exactly what the nature of his communication was with the al-Qaida organization and who else from Southeast Asia is actively working with al-Qaida in propaganda, training, or even operations."

Jones said in his desire to work with bin Laden, Patek "follows in the footsteps of Hambali, the JI leader detained in Guantanamo whose relationship with al-Qaida until his arrest in 2003 is outlined in a recent WikiLeaks document."

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