Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Hambali: Mastermind of Terror

Family Ties

Within weeks of Hambali's arrest, Pakistan announced that it had captured Gungun Rusman Gunawan a JI operative alleged to be Hambali's brother.

The information regarding the arrest of Gunawan in Karachi was sketchy, but the report appeared to be accurate though the details regarding how, when and where he was detained were not confirmed.

Abu Bakar Bashir in custody
Abu Bakar Bashir in custody

A spokesman for the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Islamabad told reporters that Gunawan had been arrested along with "13 Malaysian, two Indonesian and two Myanmarese students on suspicion of their links with the JI." He stated that the men were arrested for "illegally continuing to stay in Pakistan after the expiry of their visa." According to the report they were allegedly studying in the Abu Bakar Islamic University in Karachi.

The FIA was set up after Pakistan became independent and mainly investigates cases of corruption, terrorism and narcotics smuggling. The FIA is now Pakistan's main center of counter-terrorism and has strong ties with the CIA.

The Pakistani State TV reported: "Pakistani security officials arrested 13 Malaysian and two Indonesian students in Karachi yesterday for involvement in activities seen as prejudicial to the interests of Pakistan. The relevant governments have been informed. The Malaysian and the Indonesian governments had withdrawn permission for the students to stay on in Pakistan. After completing necessary investigations and legal formalities, they will be handed over to the concerned countries."

The Pakistani Interior Ministry's National Crisis Management Cell director, Brigadier Javed Cheema released a report stating: "the request for their arrest came from their respective countries, who have sought their deportation. They may be in a better position to confirm links of some of them with Jemaah Islamiah." The two Indonesians were later identified as Gungun Rusman Gunawan, 27, originally from the West Java town of Cianjur and Muhammad Saifuddin from the Central Java town of Sleman.

The original report did not identify Gunawan as the younger brother of Hambali but Associated Press managed to obtain the following report from a government source which indicated that Gunawan had been arrested some months before the announcement:

"Gungun Rusman Gunawan was taken into custody from the Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station by the army a month back. About a month ago, the SHO (Station House Officer) Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station summoned one of our Indonesian students, namely Abdul Hadi whose name was written on his passport as Gungun Rusman Gunawan, for questioning.

"At the police station, he was questioned by an army colonel and later was taken towards an undisclosed location. Since then we have no information regarding his whereabouts. We have informed his government but so far we did not receive any response. Gunawan was known as Abdul Hadi in the institution as his name was very difficult to pronounce. Hadi possessed all documents.

"Gunawan came here to acquire religious education on a scholarship about five years ago and he had no links with any extremist outfit. On the morning of September 20 some persons in plain clothes came to the institution and asked the administration to produce six students namely Ahmed Maaz, Muhammad Razi, Amin, Akhwan, Firdous (all Malaysians) and Saifuddin (Indonesian).

"The management produced them before the officials who claimed to be the personnel of the Federal Investigation Agency. The officials checked the luggage of the six persons and their travel documents. Later, the officials told the administration that the governments of these students gave their names to the Foreign Ministry, and requested to send them back.

"In order to deport them, the officials took the students along with them and since then we have no information regarding our innocent students. We immediately informed the Malaysian and Indonesian governments through their Consuls-General regarding the arrest of their nationals and now they are dealing with the Pakistani Government.

"Some 147 students were studying in Jamia Abu Bakar. The students belong to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Uganda, Djibouti, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Philippine, Maldives, Australia, Ghana, Somalia, Cambodia, Cameron, Kenya, Senegal and Afghanistan. Some 270 Pakistanis are also studying in the institution."


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