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Indonesia says it holds Jemaah Islamiyah chief

Indonesia has captured the head of Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, the chief of the country’s anti-terrorist unit said Friday.
Jemaah Islamiyah leader Zarkasih
This handout picture released by the Indonesian police shows Zarkarsih, who is now believed by authorities to be the overall head of the Jemaah Islamiyah terror network.Indonesian Police Handout / EPA
/ Source: Reuters

Indonesia has captured the head of Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, the chief of the country’s anti-terrorist unit said Friday.

The man, who was caught Saturday, was named as Zarkarsih, also known as Mbah, the official told a news conference. Mbah means grandfather in the Javanese language.

“He is the emergency head of JI. He is above Abu Dujana and was captured on the same day,” said Suryadarma Salim Nasution, who leads Detachment 88, the country’s anti-terrorist unit.

The announcement came two days after police said they had caught the country’s most-wanted militant, Abu Dujana, who heads a military wing of Jemaah Islamiyah.

Zarkarsih was caught in Yogyakarta in Central Java and police said they believed he replaced Abu Bakar Bashir and then Abu Rusdan as leader of Jemaah Islamiyah.

Police are still searching for fugitive Noordin M Top, a Malaysian national considered a key figure behind a series of bomb attacks, including the 2005 Bali blasts that killed more than 20 people.

Some analysts say Top might have set up a splinter group with Jemaah Islamiyah.

At the news conference, police showed video testimonies from Zarkarsih and Dujana, where the former said he had been the acting head since 2004.