Indonesia arrests one of last key militants

Indonesia has arrested a key Islamist militant commander for alleged involvement in  paramilitary training in Southeast Asia, a move that will  reduce the threat of terror attacks in Southeast Asia's largest economy, police said on Friday. 

The capture is the latest in a string of high-profile raids in the past year by Western-trained anti-terror police after deadly bomb attacks on Jakarta hotels in 2009, underlining a potential improvement in security that could  help draw foreign investment. 

Security experts said Friday's arrest of Mustofa, alias  Abu Tholut, one of only a few Islamist militant leaders  captured alive, will help reveal more about Islamic militant  movements and their plans in Indonesia. 

"With a series of captures we've had recently, including  Tholut, we can press terrorism down in Indonesia," police  spokesman Iskandar Hasan told Reuters. 

Mustofa is a firearms expert who went to Afghanistan in the late 1980s before returning to Asia to train militant group Jemaah Islamiah, a paramilitary camp in Mindanao in the  Philippines and recently another camp in Indonesia's Aceh,  said Sidney Jones, an expert on security at International  Crisis Group in Jakarta. 

"He is going to be potentially a very valuable source of information who knows about the exact role of Abu Bakar Bashir  as well as the activities of the group in Aceh," she said. 

Bashir, said by police to be the leader of al Qaeda in  Indonesia, twice escaped terror charges but is now in detention for alleged involvement with the Aceh group. 

The Aceh-based group had planned to attack the president, government officials, and state guests attending an  independence day event in August, with the aim of declaring  Indonesia an Islamic state ruled by sharia law, police have  said.  

Since bomb attacks in the capital in July last year, blamed on a Jemaah Islamiah splinter group, police have foiled  further attacks, and increased stability and a strong economy  is expected to draw greater portfolio and direct investment. 

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