Zulkarnaen has been on Indonesia's most-wanted list since the bombings that killed 202 people on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Indonesian policemen check bodies of those killed in an overnight explosion at a nightclub in Kuta on Indonesia's popular resort island of Bali on October 13, 2002.
Indonesian policemen check bodies of those killed in an overnight explosion at a nightclub in Kuta on Indonesia's popular resort island of Bali on October 13, 2002. (Reuters)

Indonesia has arrested a senior leader of the Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) network for an alleged role in the deadly 2002 Bali bombings.

National Police spokesman Argo Yuwono said Zulkarnaen, 57, was arrested in Lampung on Sumatra island on Thursday after spending nearly 18 years at large.

Zulkarnaen "is now being interrogated" and anti-terror investigators were searching his residence, Argo said.

Zulkarnaen has been on Indonesia's most-wanted list since the bombings that killed 202 people on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

"He was the military leader of Jemaah Islamiyah during the attack," Argo said.

His cell is also believed to have helped carry out the suicide bombing at Jakarta’s Marriott Hotel in 2003 that killed 12 people.

He was the only Indonesian listed on Washington's "Rewards for Justice" programme, with a bounty of up to $5 million.

The former Afghan war veteran established a special unit within JI tasked with planning deadly attacks.

The unit was also mandated to incite ethnic and religious violence in Sulawesi and Molucca islands, where thousands died between 19 98 and 2002.

JI was founded by a handful of Indonesian terrorists exiled in Malaysia in the 1980s and grew to include cells across Southeast Asia.

READ MORE: Indonesia weighs early release of cleric linked to Bali bombings

Source: AFP