Philippines arrests militants linked to 2002 Bali blasts

February 12th, 2009 - 11:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Manila, Feb 12 (DPA) The Philippines security forces have arrested two militants with alleged links to a pair of Indonesians wanted in the 2002 Bali bombings, an official said Thursday.
Eduardo Ermita, chief of the Philippine Anti-Terrorism Council, said Mokasin Dilna, a leader of the militant al-Khobar group, was arrested Jan 29 in Zamboanga City, 875 km south of Manila. The group has been accused of bombings and extortion.

Omar Venancio, a close associate of senior members in the Philippines of the regional terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), was arrested Jan 7 in Cotabato City, some 930 km south of Manila, he added.

Both men have been linked to Dulmatin and Omar Patek, both JI members wanted by the US, Australia and Indonesia for the 2002 nightclub bombings on Bali, which killed 202 people.

Ermita said Dilna, who is also known as Mokasid Adil, was responsible for training South-East Asian militants in the 1990s and hosted JI associates from outside the country, including Patek and Dulmatin and his family.

Most of the foreign JI associates who travelled to the Philippines and were later arrested told authorities that Dilna was among the first people they had contact with upon their arrival and he helped them while they were in the country, the anti-terrorism official said.

Ermita added that Dilna trained Venancio in bomb-making and introduced him to Patek.

“Receipts of bombing-making materials were found in [Venancio's] possession when he was captured,” Ermita said. “He later disclosed that the items were for the improvised explosive devices intended to bomb a cathedral and a beach resort” in Davao province.

The US has offered a reward of up to $10 million for the capture of Dulmatin and up to $1 million for Patek.

Patek is believed to be hiding in the southern Philippines while Philippine authorities said they found a body believed to be Dulmatin’s a year ago in the southern province of Tawi-Tawi.

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