Police trace movements of convicted French terrorist


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 21 Oct 2004

EXCLUSIVE BY WONG CHUN WAI AND LOURDES CHARLES

KUALA LUMPUR: Convicted French terrorist Lionel Dumont has visited Malaysia no less than six times and police are investigating why. 

Dumont, who is of Algerian descent, is believed to have used a fake passport to come to Malaysia between 2002 and 2003. He is said to have stayed in several hotels here and rented a house for a few months in a northern state. 

The 34-year-old militant, who had links with Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network, was arrested in Germany in December. 

He first entered Japan from Singapore using a forged French passport bearing the name Tinet Gerald Camille Armand in July 2002. 

Undated picture showing Lionel Dumont - AFPpic

 

Dumont, who used Japan as a base for a year, has been blamed for several incidents, including an attempted bombing of a police headquarters prior to the start of the Group of Seven economic summit in Lyons, France, in June 1996. 

“We are gathering information on what happened or who he met during his stay here in Malaysia. From our investigations, we found he had met several Arabs here,” sources said. 

They said the information gathered so far showed that Dumont was merely on transit, but Bukit Aman was working closely with its foreign counterparts to further probe the matter.  

However, police here said there is no evidence to show that he met members of the Jemaah Islamiah or the KMM.  

It is understood that security agencies want to find out whether Dumont had plans to set up an al-Qaeda cell in Japan with the support of foreigners there or with local groups. 

Dumont is said to have joined an Egyptian radical group, Takfir Wal Hijra (Renunciation and Exile), when he showed up in Bosnia-Hergovina as a mujahiddin to fight the ethnic war in early 1990s.  

“He sees himself as a veteran fighter taking part in jihad everywhere. His name is on the list of intelligence agencies worldwide,” the sources said. 

Dumont is believed to have also joined a radical French group called Groupe Roubaix – named after a town in northern France – after serving with the French military in Somalia.  

The group has been blamed for several Paris Metro bombings. 

Intelligence reports showed that Dumont killed a police officer during a robbery in Bosnia and was sentenced to 20 years’ jail in a Sarajevo prison before he escaped in 1991 after serving only three years. 

He was also convicted in absentia by a French court in 2001 for a string of violent crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment but he managed to avoid detection in Japan for a year. 

“He lived for a year using a fake passport and working as a car dealer,'' a source said. 

Living with his German wife in Niigata, north-west of Tokyo, from July 2002 until September 2003, Dumont's friends were mostly Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Africans. 

Regional intelligence officials said they suspected that Dumont was based in Japan by al-Qaeda and given the task of delivering equipment and funds to terrorists. 

“He could possibly be part of the network’s logistics section as he had about 10 million yen (about RM350,000) in his bank account. We have frozen the account,” an official said. 

Dumont, who is now jailed in the French city of Duoai, is expected to face a retrial in keeping with French laws on absentia convictions. 

Yazid Sufaat, a JI leader who is detained under the Internal Security Act, allegedly allowed the use of his apartment in Sungai Long, Cheras, by al-Qaeda to host Zacarias Moussanoui, a French citizen now in US custody, charged in connection with the Sept 11 attacks. 

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