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Indonesian al Qaeda camp on tape

From Jakarta Bureau Chief Maria Ressa

Osama bin Laden (R) shown here with his right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri (L), in one of the tapes discovered by CNN in Afghanistan
Osama bin Laden (R) shown here with his right-hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri (L), in one of the tapes discovered by CNN in Afghanistan

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CNN's Maria Ressa examines video of al Qaeda training camps that are reportedly based in Indonesia. (October 15)
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CNN's Atika Shubert reports on the pressure on Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri to move against suspected terrorists after the bombings in Bali. (October 14)
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CNN's Maria Ressa reports the Bali explosion is thought to be part of a new pattern of smaller, focused attacks by the terrorist group al Qaeda (October 14)
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JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- A videotape discovered by CNN reveals an al Qaeda training camp in Indonesia, the existence of which has never been publicly acknowledged by Indonesian officials.

The tape was found in Afghanistan in what is considered by experts to be al Qaeda's video library.

Many of the images on the tapes are extremely graphic -- pictures of beheadings and amputations, atrocities the tape cites as reasons to join the Jihad in Indonesia.

The tape also features men, speaking in Indonesian, who describe themselves as mujahidin. The Arabic narration says these mujahidin are fighting the disbelievers -- and they will fight until death.

There are also pictures of something the Indonesian government has never acknowledged existed -- an al Qaeda training camp inside Indonesia.

"That video is of a training camp in Indonesia. It is very likely that the camp is the Poso, Sulawesi training camp that was run by al Qaeda until July 2000," says Rohan Gunaratna an al Qaeda expert.

Reports of the Poso camp first publicly surfaced in November 2001 in court documents in Spain after the arrest of an al Qaeda leader.

His group, the documents say, allegedly sent hundreds of al Qaeda operatives from Europe to Indonesia for training.

Al Qaeda visit

According to the date on the video, it was taped around the same time as the visit of two senior al Qaeda leaders.

Intelligence documents from the region say Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's right hand man, and Mohammed Atef, al Qaeda's former military chief, visited Indonesia in 2000.

According to the documents, the visit was a fact-finding mission to assess the possibility of moving al Qaeda's base of operations to Southeast Asia.

"All Indonesian security and intelligence reports very clearly indicate an al Qaeda presence in Indonesia," warns Gunaratna.

Still, partly because of fears of a domestic backlash in the country with the world's largest Muslim population, al Qaeda's presence was never acknowledged by Indonesian officials -- until after the blasts in Bali this weekend.

Indonesia's defense minister's linking of these attacks directly to al Qaeda represents a dramatic change in Indonesian policy.

The Indonesian government is now warning about terrorist plots targeting oil and gas installations. Officials say they will take precautions and firm action, putting the focus now on concrete steps the government has planned to dismantle al Qaeda's network in the country.



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