Tuesday, 24 July 2012 13:52
Umar Patek, the Jemaah Islamiyah terror band bomb expert, finally meted a 20-year sentence for his role in the manslaughter of 202 innocent civilians out in a holiday revelry in Indonesia’s prime tourist destination – Bali in 2002.
Patek who became fugitive following the Bali bombing was finally arrested in Abbottabad, Pakistan just a few weeks before Al Qaeda’s Chieftain Osama bin Laden was killed by an American elite force in the same township. He was whisked to Indonesia where he stood trial. Prosecutors had wanted a tougher sentence of death by musketry, however Patek issued an apology for the crime adding that his role was just to mix the chemicals used for the improvised explosive they used in bombing the resort. He also claimed that he was not aware where and how the bomb will used for. While he will be behind bar for the next two decades, we cannot help but ask whether the court believed him.
Of the 202 killed during the explosion, 88 Australians and seven Americans were killed. The rest of the victims were Indonesians and other foreign nationals. Bali was not to be the first and last of their despicable and bestial operations. While they were targeting foreigners they did not spare the locals in their desire to instill terror.
Patek is a close comrade of Dulmatin, a ranking member of Al Qaeda. Together they plotted the bombing in Bali and other parts of Indonesia. In 2010, Indonesian intelligence operatives finally caught up and killed Dulmatin in an internet café In Jakarta.
Both Patek and Dulmatin were believed to have been operating in Mindanao and had touched base with Abu Sayyaf which soon became Al Qaeda’s allies in terrorist activities in Centeral and Western Mindanao. Patek’s homegrown bomb making technology was passed on to radical members of the secessionist fronts while Dulmatin took charge of spreading the gospel of Osama bin Laden. Extensive operations that hunted them in conflict areas in Mindanao prompted them to return to Indonesia and to hide in Pakistan where it was believed he touched base with Bin Laden.
The neutralization of the top terrorist operatives has crippled the Jemaah Islamiyah. This virtually cut their ties with the international terrorist ring. In the case of Abu Sayyaf, their leaders have also been accounted for. The remaining elements have turned to a vicious group of kidnap-for-ransom syndicates which had victimized any potential client worth a ransom. And that includes foreign journalists, never mind if they too are Muslims.
By Menardo Wenceslao
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