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PIA Press Release

JI targeted RP for supporting US, says bomb suspect's wife

ZAMBOANGA (8 October) -- The arrested wife of alleged Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) bomb expert Dulmatin told interrogators the group had targeted the Philippines for its support of the US "war on terror," a military spokesman said Saturday.

"She admitted they are staying here in the Philippines because it is a target for being the first one who supported the call of the United States following the September 11 (2001) attacks," said Major Eugene Batara.

The military was still interrogating Dulmatin's wife, Istiada H. Oemar Sovie, an Indonesian national, following her arrest on the remote southern Philippine island of Jolo on October 3, Batara added.

She had also revealed that her husband Dulmatin and another JI bomb expert, Umar Patek, were still hiding on Jolo, protected by the Abu Sayyaf, a local Muslim extremist group which is also linked to the Al-Qaeda terror network.

Dulmatin and fellow Indonesian Patek have been linked to the October 2002 nightclub bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali which killed more than 200 people, mostly Australian tourists.

The woman, also known as Amenah Toha, said she was not a member of JI but admitted acting as a courier for the group, Batara added.

She was being held on immigration charges for entering the Philippines illegally sometime in 2003.

Dulmatin and Patek, who have bounties totaling 11 million dollars on their heads by the US government, are the subjects of a massive military operation involving 5,000 Filipino troops backed by US intelligence personnel.

The Philippines was one of the first Asian nations to declare support for the US-led "war on terror" after the September 11 attacks and the United States has been providing training and assistance in hunting down Abu Sayyaf militants in this country. (PIA) [top]

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