Published March 09, 2010
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia's president says a top-ranked Southeast Asian militant wanted for planning the 2002 Bali bombings has been identified as the man shot dead by police in a raid on the island of Java.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told officials in a speech in the Australian capital, Canberra, on Wednesday that suspected Jemaah Islamiyah leader Dulmatin was the man shot dead in a raid at an Internet cafe southwest of Jakarta on Tuesday.
Dulmatin is wanted in the suicide bombings that tore through two Bali nightclubs popular with Westerners, killing 202 people in Indonesia's deadliest terrorist attack.
The suspected mastermind was earlier thought to have fled to the Philippines, and the U.S. government has offered a reward of up to $10 million for his capture. The Bali suicide bombings, targeting nightclubs popular with foreigners, killed 202 people and were Indonesia's worst terror attacks.
The first of the three suspects was killed after he shot at police during a raid on an Internet cafe southwest of the Indonesian capital on the country's main island of Java, police spokesman Maj. Gen. Edward Aritonang said. The suspect fired a single shot from a revolver before he died, Aritonang said.
Police have mistakenly thought that Dulmatin was killed in the past, and militant leader Noordin Mohammad Top, also blamed for the Bali bombings, was mistakenly reported killed in a shootout with police on Java a month before he died in a police raid in September.
The Internet cafe manager, Rinda Riyani, said the suspect had begun using an upstairs computer only five minutes before plainclothes police rushed in.
"I heard gunshots and later saw the man was dead," said Riyani, who had been downstairs and did not see the shooting.
Two other customers, a man and woman, were taken by police for questioning, he said.
Police later arrested two other suspects at a nearby house in Pamulang district and shot and killed two others as they tried to flee, Aritonang said. One of the slain suspects had fired a handgun, he said.
An additional terror suspect was arrested in Jakarta earlier Tuesday, bringing to 24 the number of suspects taken into custody on Java and the western province of Aceh since Feb. 22 in a police crackdown on a suspected Aceh cell of the militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, a regional offshoot of the al-Qaida terror group.
Aritonang said the raids on Tuesday were based on information gleaned from those already arrested.
The suspects captured in Aceh had provided police with information about Dulmatin's whereabouts, a government official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
Dulmatin had been seen in the southern Philippines as recently as three months ago, the official said.
Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf said that the terror group members had come to his province from Java and that some of those members were from the Pamulang district that was raided by police on Tuesday.
They planned to send militants to Gaza to fight Israel, Yusuf said.
Aceh authorities had watched the group recruiting in the province since last year but were unable to act until their paramilitary training camp was found and raided on Feb. 22, Yusuf said.
The group was attracted to Aceh because it is the only Indonesian province where Islamic law, or Shariah, is state law and they thought they would find willing recruits to extremism among its large Muslim majority, he said.
"They want to make Aceh their Southeast Asian base, but they're wrong," Yusuf told reporters in Jakarta. "The Acehnese people don't support them."
Yusuf, who has been briefed by police, said some of the 50 militants still at large in Aceh had been trained in the southern Philippines, the heartland of the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group.