MANILA: Indonesian police have not ruled out the possibility that suspected Jemaah Islamiah (JI) bomb expert Dr Azahari Husin could have fled Indonesia and is hiding in Malaysia.
Indonesian police chief General Dai Bachtiar said his officers were searching for Dr Azahari, who was believed to have a hand in several bombings including the Aug 5 bombing at JW Marriott hotel.
“We are working closely with our Malaysian, Singaporean and Philippines counterparts in this matter,’’ he told reporters after the opening of the 23rd Asean Chiefs of Police conference here yesterday by Philippines Interior and Local Government Minister Jose D. Lina.
Dai Bachtiar said that besides Dr Azahari, police were also looking for Malaysian Nordin Mohd Top, Dzulkarnain and several other suspected JI members including Fathur Rahman Al-Ghozi.
“We do not know where he went after he broke out from the prison here but we are monitoring our common border with the Philippines especially in North Celebes,” he said of Fathur.
On Hambali, Dai Bachtiar said the United States had been promising the Indonesian police access to Hambali.
Philippine police chief Director-General Hermogenes Ebdane said Philippines was also keen to question Hambali, whom they believe was involved in the bombings in Manila in 2000.
“We have to wait for our turn as Indonesia and Thailand have cases against him as well,’’ he said.
Hermogenes said they are currently concentrating on Fathur Rahman, whom they believe was in the Mindanao area.
In his speech, Lina said there was an urgent need for Asean police forces to work out concrete measures to deter further terrorist attacks.
“We need to expand deterrent measures to include tighter airport security, secure the movement of people across borders and deter movements of terrorists across borders,’’ he said.
He said Asean police forces should deal with drug trafficking, commercial crimes, bank and credit card frauds, fraudulent travel documents and other transnational crimes.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Omar, who is leading a 13-member Malaysian delegation, said Malaysian police would continue to stress on the importance of intelligence-sharing among member countries.
“That is the best way to get things done. We need to further enhance our co-operation with our counterparts as most of the crimes are localised,’’ he said.
Those in the Malaysian delegation include Senior Asst Comm I Datuk Mustaff Adullah, Senior Asst Comm II Idris Ahmad, Asst Comm A. Thaiveegan and Supt Ahmad Damanhuri Yusof.