As news spread that the National Police had gunned down Dulmatin, authorities stepped up raids on a terrorist group he had allegedly trained in Aceh province.
National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri confirmed Wednesday that his officers had killed Dulmatin, Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist, during Tuesday’s raids in Pamulang, Tangerang.
Dulmatin, a member of Philippine counterpart of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) Abu Sayyaf, was killed along with Hasan Noer and Ridwan, believed to be his personal bodyguards.
National Police medical division head Brig. Gen. Moshaddeq Ishak said the police had conducted a DNA test on the body. “The [body’s] DNA matched the DNA of Dulmatin’s mother,” Bambang claimed.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono earlier announced the police’s success during his state visit to Canberra, Australia.
“I have just gained assurance that after Noordin M. Top and Azahari, Alhamdullillah [Thank God], the police were able to kill Dulmatin.
“Indonesian authorities will continue to hunt down [terror suspects] and do all we can to prevent them from harming our people,” Yudhoyono said in a speech at Australia’s Parliament House.
Bambang said Dulmatin had allocated Rp 500 million (US$53,800) to finance military-style terrorist training camps in Aceh. He was also believed to be behind an order to seek funds to support his terror agenda.
“Dulmatin had ordered his followers to raise funds or fail,” he said.
Intelligence expert Dynno Chressbon said earlier that criminal activity was part of Abu Sayyaf’s methods in funding their operations.
“This group has rarely sought financial donors like its counterpart JI. The group prefers to rob banks and commit crimes,” he said.
During Tuesday’s operation, the police confiscated a hand gun, passports, ID cards, laptops and some Philippine peso bank notes. Bambang revealed the police also found two printed circuit boards and three bomb timers that were allegedly to be used by Dulmatin to make bombs.
He did, however, acknowledge that the police had not yet found any explosive materials in the operation.
It is believed Dulmatin joined the Abu Sayyaf military group — based in Mindanao, southern Philippines — in 2003 when Indonesian police began hunting him over his role in the 2002 Bali bombings.
As JI’s top figure in Southeast Asia, Dulmatin’s bomb-making expertise was noted by many, including the police chief, who said the terrorist’s skills exceeded even those of Azahari bin Husin, who before being killed by police in 2005, was considered JI’s “technical mastermind”.
A senior adviser from the International Crisis Group, Sidney Jones, questioned how many other Indonesian members of Abu Sayyaf had left the Philippines unnoticed.
“[Dulmatin’s] death and the fact that he came back without being detected will place the whole area between the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia under an increased level of monitoring because there are some seriously dangerous people who we thought were still in the Philippines,” she said, as quoted by The Associated Press.
To date, Indonesian police have arrested 23 people in relation to terror training camps at various locations in Aceh, Jakarta and Banten.
Twenty-one were arrested during raids in Aceh, while two others were arrested in two separate places in Depok, West Java.