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Bali kingpin arrested
- Breakthrough in probe

Jakarta, Nov. 21 (Reuters): The suspected mastermind of last month’s devastating Bali bombings, which killed nearly 200 people, was arrested today, marking a major breakthrough in investigations into the attack.

The 35-year-old Indonesian man, Imam Samudra, was detained in a town near Jakarta after two other men believed to be his bodyguards were taken into custody, police said.

“I just have received reports from the investigation team... (It) has arrested three people and Imam Samudra was one of them,” national police chief Da’i Bachtiar told reporters.

“He was caught today at 5.30 pm (0830 GMT) on his way to Sumatra. He did not give any resistance. He was not carrying any weapon,” said Bachtiar.

More than 180 people, most of them Western tourists, were killed in the October 12 bomb attacks, which devastated a nightclub district in the Kuta beach area of Bali.

Some officials have linked the attacks to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaida group and the Southeast Asian militant Muslim network Jemaah Islamiah, although police say it is too early to conclude that. Samudra was arrested at the Merak port in the province of Banten, 100 km from Jakarta. Bachtiar said he was caught inside a bus about to board a ferry at the western Java port for Sumatra.

Two other men, identified as Rauf and Yadi, were caught on Tuesday and yesterday respectively in a village in Banten. Police said they were Samudra’s bodyguards. On Sunday, police identified Samudra, an engineer with several aliases as the top planner in the group behind the Bali bombing. Relatives say he was born with the name Abdul Azis.

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