National

Central Java intensifies
moves to nab Noordin Top

The governor, police and military top brass in Central Java brought together some 2,000 village and subdistrict heads at a meeting on Tuesday, hoping to speed up the capture of key terror suspect Noordin M. Top.

Hundreds of local police chiefs and military commanders from four regencies - Cilacap, Banyumas, Banjarnegara and Purbalingga - were also present.

"If you come across a stranger acting unusually around your house, catch them. If you don't dare, report them to the nearest police office, or call me, immediately," Central Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Alex Bambang Riatmojo told the gathering in Cilacap.

He also ordered all local police chiefs in the province to make their cell phone numbers available to the public, for the sake of the fight against terrorism.

"Should there be city, regency and district police chiefs who cannot be contacted, report them to me. I will fire them," Alex said.

"We are determined to capture Noordin M. Top immediately. Everyone should support this," he said.

Noordin has been widely blamed for last month's twin suicide bomb attacks on two luxury hotels in Jakarta. Nine people, mostly foreigners, were killed in the attacks. Noordin was also blamed for a series of previous bombings in Bali and Jakarta.

The National Police have recently intensified the man hunt for Noordin throughout Indonesia, particularly in Central Java, with thousands of posters bearing photographs of him erected and distributed nationwide.

Massive searches and raids have been organized since the July 17 bombings, but to no avail.

At least seven of the 35 regencies in Central Java - Cilacap, Banyumas, Temanggung, Klaten, Kendal, Purbalingga and Surakarta - were the targets of intensive police monitoring as they were believed to be hideouts of terror suspects recruited by Noordin, Alex said.

After the meeting, Alex, the Central Java military commander and the governor, along with village heads, erected a ballyhoo bearing pictures of Noordin at the city's public park in Cilacap.

"At glance, the ballyhoo looks like a poster of a regent or legislative candidate ahead of the elections, but it's not. This is intended to make it easier for the public to identify him *Noordin* so we can arrest him," Alex said.

Central Java Governor Bibit Waluyo, who led the meeting, attributed the increase in terrorism to the country's high incidence of poverty.

Some 8 million of the province's population of 30 million live under poverty line, he said.

"Because of poverty, people are more susceptible to promises of heaven. They are even willing to commit suicide," Bibit said.

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