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More DNA samples sought as tests on ‘Dulmatin’ inconclusive

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 15:07:00 04/22/2008

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities will gather more DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) samples from relatives of an alleged Indonesian terrorist for a fresh round of tests after initial tests on remains believed to be those of Dulmatin turned out “inconclusive,” the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Tuesday.

General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. acknowledged to reporters that initial testing by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) failed to prove that the remains exhumed in the southern province of Tawi-Tawi province February 18 were those of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) explosives expert Dulmatin.

“The test was inconclusive. It’s not yet finished,” he said, adding US officials had informed him of this last week.

However, even before Esperon’s admission, wire reports quoted Indonesian law enforcement officials as saying the remains were not Dulmatin’s.

Dulmatin, who with another JI bomb expert, Umar Patek, has long been reported as having taken refuge with the Abu Sayyaf group, carries a $10-million US bounty on his head.

The two are accused of masterminding the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people. The Abu Sayyaf, on the other hand, has been blamed for the bombing and sinking of the SuperFerry 14 in Manila Bay in 2004, which also killed some 200 people. Both incidents have been tagged the worst terrorist attacks in Southeast Asia.

“We will get samples from relatives as close [to Dulmatin] as possible,” Esperon said.

Esperon refused to identify whose DNA samples were used for the first test, saying the matter was “technical.”

Tipsters led authorities to the gravesite in Balimbing village, Panglima Sugala town, where Marines and alleged Abu Sayyaf and JI militants clashed in late January.

Dulmatin was believed to have been fatally wounded in that clash.

Prior to this, government forces also discovered Dulmatin’s wife and children. They have since been deported back to Indonesia.

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Written by joelguinto

Tue+00:002008-04-22T07:27:29+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Tue, 22 Apr 2008 07:27:29 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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