03/09/2010, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Three die in anti-terror raid, one masterminded Bali massacre

by Mathias Hariyadi
Security forces carry out an operation in the Pamulang area, on the outskirts of the capital. Dulmatin, a terrorist nicknamed “The Genius”, is thought to be among them. Trained in Afghanistan, he was active throughout South-East Asia. The Indonesian government toughens its anti-terror campaign a few days before an official visit by Barak Obama. Hard-line Muslims attack the US leader, not a true friend of Islam.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – This morning Indonesian anti-terror units carried out a raid in Pamulang, South Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta. Three suspected terrorists were killed during the ensuing gun battle. Indonesia’s number one fugitive, Dulmatin, could be among them. US authorities have a US$ 10 million bounty for useful information leading to his capture. As Indonesians closely follow the unfolding of events, the hunt for terrorists intensifies a few days before US President Barack Obama begins a state visit to the Asian nation on 20 March.

Dulmatin (pictured) has used a great many aliases, including Joko Pitono, which appears on a passport released by Indonesia authorities. He is also known as Amar Usmanan, Joko Pitoyo, Abdul Matin, Muktamar, Djoko, and Noval. Indonesian intelligence has nicknamed “The Genius”.

In 1990 and 1991, he trained in Afghanistan, and eventually became a protégé and one of the closest aides to Malaysian terrorist Azahari Husin.

Originally from Pemalang (central Java), the Indonesian terrorist is on the most wanted list of Indonesia and neighbouring countries. He is thought to be one of the masterminds behind the 2002 Bali bombing, which killed at least 202 people, especially foreign tourists crowding the island during the holiday season. Following the attack, Dulmatin fled to Mindanao, southern Philippines, where he joined the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)

Working undercover, he has provided logistical support to Jemaah Islamiyah in its terror campaign against the United States and the United Kingdom in South-East Asia. After escaping several attempts by the Filipino military to seize him, he joined Islamist fighters affiliated with Abu Sayyaf, also in southern Philippines.

He is believed to be among the terrorists killed in the raid carried out at 11.30 am (local time) by Indonesia’s elite Detachment 88 anti-terrorism unit, but confirmation will come only after DNA and fingerprints tests are performed.

The gun battle between security forces and terrorists broke out near the Multiplus Supermarket, in the Pamulang commercial area, some 25 kilometres south-west of Jakarta, and lasted about 15 minutes.

The operation that ended in the death of three extremists shows how seriously the Indonesian government is taking the fight against terror cells and Islamic extremism.

In the meantime, Indonesia is preparing, not without opposition, the visit of US President Barack Obama, scheduled to begin on 20 March.

Hard-line Muslim groups have in fact rallied against Obama’s visit, claiming that the US leader is not a true friend of Islam.

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