Bali Bombing Mastermind Still Alive in Philippines: General

MANILA

An Islamist militant accused of being behind the deadly 2002 Bali bombings is alive and hiding in the southern Philippines despite earlier reports of his death, a senior military official said this week.

Dulmatin, leader of the regional militant group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), was not killed in a clash in 2008 as the military initially believed, said Major General Juancho Sabban, the head of the Philippine Marines.

“I believe, from what my sources say, he is still in Sulu,” Sabban told reporters, referring to the southern chain of islands in the south including Jolo, a hotbed of Islamist militants.

Sabban also said that another JI militant, Umar Patek, is also believed to be hiding in the Sulu islands and is being sheltered by the Abu Sayyaf, a local Muslim extremist group linked by intelligence agencies to the Al-Qaeda network.

Dulmatin, accused of helping the JI plan and carry out the Bali bombings that killed 202 people, was initially believed to have been killed by the military in the southern Philippines in January 2008.

However DNA tests of the body of the slain man raised doubts that it was Dulmatin.

Patek and Dulmatin, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, have been hiding out in the Philippine jungle with the Abu Sayyaf group since 2003, intelligence officials have said.

The US State Department has offered a reward of US$10 million for information leading to the arrest of Dulmatin, and $1 million for Patek.

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