Top Indonesia militant denies ties to attacks
Abu Dujana, one of the men accused of being behind the recent attacks on churches in the country, has denied any involvement in the attacks blamed on the militant group Jemaah Islamiah which has long been linked to al Qaeda. Dujana, reportedly sobbing during his trial on Wednesday, claimed that the training and stockpile of weapons he and others received were a means of self-defense.
4/2/08 Indonesia (Reuters) A Indonesian man accused of being a senior leader of the regional Jemaah Islamiah militant group denied on Wednesday any role in attacks blamed on the organisation including the 2002 Bali bombings.
A sobbing Abu Dujana told his trial that military training he and fellow Muslims underwent and a stockpile of firearms and explosives were intended for self-defence.
“I’m a victim of exaggerated reporting by the mass media. They say I’m a terrorist leader, an important figure behind terror acts in Indonesia,” Dujana, trying to hold back tears, told the hearing at the South Jakarta district court.
Jemaah Islamiah (JI) has been blamed for a series of attacks in Indonesia in recent years, including the 2002 Bali bombings in which 202 people were killed.
Dujana said his earlier admission on a video shown by police to reporters that he was the head of JI’s military wing was made under duress with a script provided by investigators.
Police arrested Dujana, 38, in a town in Central Java in June and at the time described him as their most wanted man. The prosecution accused Dujana of authorising the shipping of firearms and explosives to the Poso region on Sulawesi island where a conflict between Christians and Muslims killed about 2,000 people at the start of the decade.
“What happened to Muslims made us realise that we must not be weak,” he said referring to Muslim-Christian conflicts in eastern Indonesia.
“Weapons are meant to protect the dignity and existence of the religion,” he said.
Police in several countries have previously linked JI to al Qaeda, but Indonesian authorities have argued they cannot ban the group since since it is not an established, structured organisation.