ZAMBOANGA, (Philippines), Oct 7 (AFP): Indonesian Islamic militant Dulmatin, who has a 10-million-dollar US bounty on his head, is hiding out in the southern Philippines, the US embassy and Filipino officials said Friday.
Dulmatin, an al-Qaeda trained electronics expert thought to be one of the masterminds of the 2002 Bali bombings, is in the company of local Muslim extremists in the southern island of Mindanao, the officials said.
Dulmatin was believed to be with the senior leader of militant group Abu Sayyaf, Khadaffy Janjalani, as well as another alleged member of the extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Umar Patek.
"We believe that these two (Jemaah Islamiyah) members are hiding in Mindanao in the Philippines," said Ruth Urry, the US embassy spokeswoman in Manila. She did not elaborate.
Brigadier Genreal Ben Dolorfino, head of a Marine task force, said separately that "the two are confirmed to be with the group of Khadaffy Janjalani in Maguindanao," a central province in Mindanao.
The US reward announced Thursday for information that could help capture or kill Dulmatin is second only to the 25 million dollars offered for Osama bin Laden and Iraq insurgency leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
A smaller bounty of one million dollars was placed on the head of Patek. Washington earlier placed a bounty of up to five million dollars on Janjalani.
Eid Kabalu, a spokesman of the main Muslim separatist group here, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), told AFP that Dulmatin, Patek and Janjalani had been together in central Mindanao when the Philippines military launched an operation to try to catch them in July, but they apparently escaped.
"Based on our operations, Dulmatin and Patek are in Mindanao but we do not know what place because they fled from the latest operations," said Kabalu.