US announces reward for suspected bomber in Philippines

Abdul Basit Usman has links with al-Qaida-allied group Jemaah Islamiyah, and had a hand in a series of recent attacks, embassy says.

January 30, 2007 10:31
1 minute read.
US announces reward for suspected bomber in Philippines

philippine suspect 88. (photo credit: US Government Reward-for-Justice Program )

The US government has announced a US$50,000 (€38,000) reward for information leading to the capture of a "despicable terrorist" allegedly involved in a series of deadly bomb attacks in the southern Philippines. Filipino terror operative Abdul Basit Usman has links with the al-Qaida-allied group Jemaah Islamiyah, and had a hand in a series of recent bombings in the southern Mindanao region, including an attack in October that killed eight people, the US Embassy said Tuesday. "It is time to bring this despicable terrorist to justice," the embassy said. Washington has offered huge bounties for the capture of several Filipino terror operatives, most of them belonging to the Abu Sayyaf, a small but brutal group allied with al-Qaida and Jemaah Islamiyah and included on the US list of terrorist groups. It was not clear whether Usman was affiliated with the Abu Sayyaf or renegade members of a larger Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, who have been suspected of bomb attacks in Mindanao - scene of a decades-old separatist uprising. Usman was among those charged for allegedly helping plot an Oct. 10 bombing that killed eight people and wounded 28 others during a fiesta celebration in Makilala town in southern North Cotabato province. He also was charged for another bombing that day that wounded four people in a crowded public market in southern Tacurong city. Prosecutor Al Calica said Usman, a bomb-making expert, has been implicated in other bomb attacks in the southern Philippines in recent years, and may have helped assemble the bomb used in the attacks in Makilala and Tacurong. Two top Indonesian terror suspects wanted by Washington, Dulmatin and Umar Patek, and several MILF commanders were charged with Usman in the two bombings, which the military said may have been carried out to distract troops waging a massive US-backed offensive against militants in Jolo. Dulmatin and Patek, among the alleged masterminds of the Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people in 2002, are among the key targets of the Jolo offensives.

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