Bali Bombing Suspect Demonstrates Attack
Feb. 11, 2003
BALI, Indonesia (AP) _ A key suspect in October's Bali nightclub bombings apologized to the victims' families on Tuesday and showed reporters how he and others allegedly assembled the explosives that killed 192 people, most of them foreign tourists.
Wearing a fake suicide bomb vest over his blue prison uniform, Ali Imron conducted a bizarre news conference at police headquarters and confessed to coordinating the attack on the Sari Club and Paddy's Bar.
Imron boasted about his bomb-making skills and then voiced remorse for the carnage blamed on Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaida-linked Islamic group.
``Our capabilities as Indonesians are something to be proud of, but they were used for a wrong purpose,'' said Imron, who claimed he learned how to make bombs in Afghanistan and has admitted to helping plan the Oct. 12 attack.
``I hope that there will be no more arguments about who really detonated the Bali bombs,'' he said. ``In my heart, I regret this. I want to apologize to the victims' families in Indonesia and to foreign families.''
Investigators have rounded up 29 suspected members of Jemaah Islamiyah since the bombings, including Imron. But they have struggled to convince a skeptical public that a group of Indonesians planned and carried out the bombings, despite confessions from many of the suspects.
As a result, detectives have staged a series of re-enactments since December aimed at showing how the attack was executed. Tuesday's focused on how the group allegedly put together a bomb that was carried into Paddy's nightclub and a much larger device placed inside a Mitsubishi minivan outside the packed Sari Club on the opposite side of the street.
Imron showed how his group allegedly built the bomb placed in the minivan. He said it took eight days to assemble.
Investigators have estimated that it weighed up to 220 pounds. But on Tuesday, Imron claimed that it weighed over a ton and consisted of a mix of potassium chlorate, sulfur and aluminum powder.
Later in the presentation, Imron strapped on a vest that featured eight mock pipe bombs with explosive chords connected to a detonator switch. It was the device that one of the terrorists was wearing when he allegedly blew himself up inside Paddy's.
Imron said the attackers chose Bali because they thought it was a popular tourist spot for Americans. ``We picked (Bali) because we wanted to target America and its allies,'' he said.
In Canberra, Australia police chief Mick Keelty praised Indonesia's investigation of the bombings and said it was likely that Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, Jemaah Islamiyah's spiritual leader, would also be charged with involvement in the Bali attack.
Bashir was arrested by Indonesian authorities soon after Oct. 12. Authorities have said he will face charges connected with a series of church bombings in 2000 and an alleged plot to assassinate Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri.
The first trials in the case are expected to begin next month in Bali, police say.