Al Qaeda linked group has training base in Phillipines

AP vai NY Times:

A terror suspect on Wednesday said the southern Philippines has become a major training ground for regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah -- graduating 23 bomb experts just days ago -- and a refuge for Indonesians involved in major attacks, including the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings.

Rohmat, arrested last week as an alleged Jemaah Islamiyah operative in the Philippines, told The Associated Press that he had trained new recruits of the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group and said its leaders were plotting more bombings and kidnappings.

Details provided by the 26-year-old Indonesian martial arts expert showed a close but highly compartmentalized relationship between two of the most dangerous groups in Southeast Asia and partly explained why the threat of terrorism has persisted despite years of crackdown.

Rohmat, who only goes by one name, said 23 Indonesian recruits had just finished jungle training -- including lessons in explosives, weapons, combat and Islam -- when he left a Jemaah Islamiyah camp called Jabal Qubah in southern Mindanao island shortly before being arrested at a military checkpoint.


Rohmat said he was present in a meeting when Janjalani and Sulaiman plotted the Feb. 14 bombings that killed eight people and injured more than 100 others in Manila and two southern cities.

The two leaders also gave orders for new major bombings in Manila and one of two southern cities, probably Davao, during the Easter holiday, he said.

During his five-year stay in the south, Rohmat said he met two Indonesian militants, also from Jemaah Islamiyah, including one he identified as Dulmatin. Both were involved in the bombings in Bali, Indonesia, that killed 202, mostly foreign tourists, Rohmat said. He declined to identify the other militant.

Intelligence officials have told AP that Rohmat trained the Abu Sayyaf in bomb making, particularly the use of mobile phones to trigger homemade explosives.

Officials said Monday that three Jemaah Islamiyah operatives are suspected of plotting with the Abu Sayyaf to launch bomb attacks this week.

The Phillipines government seems inadequate to the job of destroying these training bases. The southern islands of the Phillipines are becoming like the tribal areas of Pakistan where the govenment has little effective authority or control. In the Phillipines, the government has not shown the same backbone as that in Pakistan, making the problem worse. The Phillipines are also so colonialphobic that they want let substantial numbers of US troops in the area to help them fight their own war. If they do not come to grips with this situation son, they may not have the choice.


Popular posts from this blog

US, Britain and Israel help Iranian nuclear scientist escape

Iran loses another of its allies in Iraq

Texas Congressman Al Green admits to affair with drug using staffer