Friday, January 26, 2007

Dulmatin Wounded In Clash In Southern RP

A Philippine Air Force C130 plane transporting troops flies past a U.S. Army convoy on Thursday 25 Jan 2007 in the southern island of Jolo, where security forces are pursuing two Jemaah Islamiya bombers, Dulmatin and Umar Patek, and Abu Sayyaf militants who are protecting the two men, tagged as behind the 2002 Bali bombinngs that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians. Muslim children in Jolo island in the southern Philippines look at photos Thursday 25 Jan 2007 of wanted Jemaah Islamiya bombers Dulmatin and Umar Patek and Abu Sayyaf militants coddling the duo tagged as behind the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 2002 people, including 88 Australians.exclusio(Mindanao Examiner Photos exclusive for The Australian)

JOLO ISLAND (Mindanao Examiner / 25 Jan) – One of two Jemaah Islamiya bombers hiding in the southern island of Jolo has been shot and wounded in a clash in Mount Dajo in Patikul town, Philippine military officials told the Mindanao Examiner.

Captain Abdurassad Sirajan, of the Army’s 104th Infantry Brigade, said Indonesian electronics expert Dulmatin was injured after Special Forces soldiers shot him January 16 during a raid on an Abu Sayyaf hideout.

In the raid, Sirajan said, a senior Abu Sayyaf leader, Jainal Antel Sali, Jr., was killed by soldiers. His body had been recovered and identified by relatives, he said.

“Dulmatin is wounded in that clash and we will get him sooner or later, all of them, they will suffer the same fate,” he told the Mindanao Examiner.

Southern Philippines military chief Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo said troops were pursuing not only Dulmatin, but another Jemaah Islamiya bomber, Umar Patek and Abu Sayyaf leaders Radulan Sahiron and Isnilon Hapilon, the most senior of about a dozen remaining commanders of the group blamed for the spate of bombings and kidnappings of foreigners in the troubled southern Philippine region.

“Escaping from the operation is difficult at this time because we have thousands of troops pursuing the terrorists and they are on the run for their lives. It is just a matter of time before we get Dulmatin and Patek and the others,” Cedo said in a separate interview.

About 6,000 Filipino soldiers, backed by U.S. military intelligence, are combing the thick jungle of Jolo island, about 950 km south of Manila. But rugged terrain and thick jungle canopy are threatening the soldiers. “The terrain is grueling and treacherous and is slowing down the offensive, but we will not stop. The terrorists must be eliminated,” Cedo said.

Some 150 U.S. Special Forces and Marines are deployed in Jolo island since last year and have been helping the local military track down the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants.

On Thursday, Karen Hughes, Under Secretary for Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the U.S. State Department, inspected American soldiers and was briefed about the security situation on the island and the progress of the hunt for terrorists.

Hughes, accompanied by U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Maj. Gen. David Fridovich, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command Pacific, and Col. David Maxwell, commander of the U.S. forces in the southern Philippines, also inspected U.S.-funded infrastructure projects in Maimbung town under tight security.

The U.S. offered $10 million bounty for Dulmatin’s capture and another $2 million for Patek. Both the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya are on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations. (Mindanao Examiner)

No comments: