Monday, April 11, 2011

Navy monitoring JI movement in Mindanao

By Roel Pareño
The Philippine Star, Tuesday, April 12, 2011

ZAMBOANGA CITY , Philippines – The Philippine Navy intensified its monitoring activities, through its coast watch, to track down the movement of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) from slipping in and out of the country using the southern backdoor, an official said. 

Newly installed Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) Commodore Armando Guzman said they have focused their security operation in the border of the Philippines and Malaysia following the capture of most wanted JI bomber Umar Patek in Pakistan. 

Patek, who was last monitored to have been in the refuge of the Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu in the previous years, was reportedly captured last February. But his arrest was only made known by an intelligence official. 

Philippine security officials in Sulu believed that Patek, who was last monitored in 2009 in Sulu, may have been passing the southern backdoor. 

Patek and Dulmatin, another JI leader, who are both wanted in the deadly 2002 Bali bombing in Indonesia that killed 202 tourists, mostly Australians and Europeans, arrived in Central Mindanao sometime in 2003 but subsequently slipped toward Sulu with the Abu Sayyaf group. 

Dulmatin, who escaped Sulu ahead of Patek, was neutralized in a shootout with Indonesian police forces in the outskirts of Jakarta sometime on March 2010. 

Philippine military officials have confirmed that JI’s were using the southern backdoor after a team of the Abu Sayyaf, who were dispatched to survey an escape path toward Malaysia, were intercepted by the Marines in 2007 in an island off Tawi-Tawi. 

Guzman said the border in the southern backdoor is “so porous” and the coast watch have been intensified in monitoring the movement of the terrorists.

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