Push to find Bali bombing fugitives
October 12, 2009 - 12:00AM
Counterterrorism authorities in Indonesia and across South-East Asia will redouble efforts to find two terrorists who have been at large since the first Bali bombings that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.
It is seven years to the day since the attacks in Bali shockingly introduced mass casualty to the region, but Dulmatin and Umar Patek, who both played key roles in planning the blasts, have managed to elude capture, spending much of their time hiding out in Mindanao in the southern Philippines.
On Friday, Indonesian police are believed to have killed two men who were leading planners of July's twin luxury hotel blasts, Saifuddin Jaelani and his brother, Mohamad Syahrir. They also arrested a third brother, Fajah.
If confirmed today by DNA tests, the deaths will mean that most of the people involved in the July attacks have been either arrested or killed.
This gives authorities more scope to chase after Dulmatin and Umar Patek, who terrorism analysts fear may resume terrorist activities now that Noordin Mohammed Top and the cell he put together for the hotel blasts has been all but dismantled.
Both Dulmatin and Umar Patek were peers of Noordin, the terrorist mastermind who was slain last month.
Dulmatin, an Indonesian who spent time in Afghanistan, is an electronics and bomb-making expert who fled to the Philippines with Umar Patek a year after the first Bali blasts. Despite numerous reports of his demise and a $US10 million ($A11 million) bounty on his head, Indonesian counterterrorism authorities believe he is still alive.
Umar Patek, Dulmatin's accomplice and a Java-born man of Arab descent, is also believed to be alive after hiding out in the Philippines. Both men are believed to have continued training recruits under the protection of Abu Sayyaf, a militant Islamic group that controls swathes of territory in the southern Philippines.
The maritime border between the Philippines and Indonesia is poorly patrolled and there are concerns both men could come back to Indonesia to wreak havoc.
Ansyaad Mbai, the head of the Indonesian security ministry's anti-terrorism desk, last month identified Umar Patek and Dulmatin as ongoing dangers, along with another terrorist, Upik Lawanga.
Lawanga's history as a terrorist goes back more than a decade to the Muslim-Christian conflicts in Poso, a regency in the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi.
This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/world/push-to-find-bali-bombing-fugitives-20091011-gscj.html