Jakarta — A convicted terrorist who escaped from jail by disguising himself in a burqa was sent back to prison after an elite anti-terror squad arrested him on a bus on Indonesia’s main island of Java, police said Tuesday.
Roki Aprisdianto was sentenced to six years behind bars in 2011 for masterminding a series of bombings. Last month, he escaped from the Jakarta Police detention center after a group of burqa-clad women came to visit their husbands. He is thought to have put on one of the full-body veils.
National police spokesman Maj. Gen. Suhardi Alius said that Aprisdianto was wearing a burqa when he got onto a bus late Monday, but that he later took its veil off. Members of the anti-terror squad who were on the bus arrested Aprisdianto as the vehicle was leaving a bus station in the East Java town of Madiun for Solo.
“He removed his veil on a bus as he thought it was safe,” Alius said. “Then police immediately arrested him.”
Two other militants believed to be part of Aprisdianto’s group were captured separately afterward in Central Java’s Solo town, while a fourth, suspected to be the group’s fundraiser, was arrested in Solo on Tuesday, Alius said.
The three told police they had helped Aprisdianto prepare a bomb that was planted at a police station in Solo on Nov. 22. The device failed to explode, and police managed to defuse it. No one was injured.
Another police spokesman, Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar, said the four men were arrested after authorities received information about their whereabouts from three other militants in the group who were arrested last week in Solo, the hometown of convicted radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.
Indonesia has been battling terrorists since the 2002 bombings on the resort island of Bali that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.
Most of Indonesia’s of 210 million Muslims practice a moderate style of Islam that condemns violence, and the government has worked to root out militants, arresting more than 700 since the Bali bombings and killing dozens more. Terrorist attacks aimed at foreigners have been largely replaced in recent years by smaller, less deadly strikes targeting mainly police and anti-terrorism forces.