Indonesian bombing mastermind Dulmatin confirmed killed

Dulmatin, one of the most wanted al Qaeda-linked terrorists in Southeast Asia, has been confirmed killed, Indonesia’s president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said during a meeting in Australia.

“I can announce to you that after a successful police raid against the terrorists hiding out in Jakarta yesterday, we can confirm one of those killed was Mr. Dulmatin, one of the top Southeast Asian terrorists that we have been looking for,” President Yudhoyono said, according to ABC News.

“For the safety of our people, for the safety of Australians and Indonesians and the rest of the world, let us continue our cooperation to fight terrorism,” he continued.

Police killed Dulmatin as he attempted to resist arrest during a raid on a doctor’s home in the Jakarta suburb of Pamulang on March 9. Dulmatin pulled a handgun and fired a round at counterterrorism police from Detachment 88. Police also killed two other terror suspects during a raid at a nearby Internet cafe [See LWJ report, “Wanted Indonesian terrorist Dulmatin thought killed in raid“].

Dulmatin was a top leader and military commander in Jemaah Islamiyah, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Southeast Asia. He attended al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan in the 1990s and was notorious for his bomb making skills and deadly attacks. Dulmatin was one of the masterminds of the 2002 terror attack at the Bali resort in Indonesia. A suicide bomber killed scores of people inside a nightclub in Bali, and a car bomb was detonated moments after the first blast, killing and maiming people as they fled the club or attempted to help survivors.

The attack in Bali killed 202 people, including seven Americans and 88 Australians. Detachment 88, which was founded with the help of Australia, is named in honor of the Australian victims. The US has posted a $10 million reward for information leading to Dulmatin’s capture.

Dulmatin is the second major kill for Detachment 88 in the past seven months. In September 2009, police killed Mohammed Noordin Top, the leader of the Tandzim al-Qaedat Indonesia, a splinter group that formed from Jemaah Islamiyah after the organization came under pressure by Indonesian police. Top was killed during a shootout with Detachment 88 in September 2009, leaving the group leaderless.

Indonesia has had success in dismantling Jemaah Islamiyah’s military arm. Detachment 88 has killed or captured several other top Jemaah Islamiyah leaders and operatives over the past several years, including Abu Rusdan and Zarkasih, both who served as JI’s emir (both are in custody); Abu Dujana, JI’s former military commander (in custody), and Azahari Husin, a top bomb maker (killed).

Top Jemaah Islamiyah leaders still on the loose include Abu Bakir Bashir, the founder and spiritual leader of JI; Zulkarnaen, a leading military strategist; Ustad Yasir Syawal, a top military trainer; and Umar Patek, a bomb maker and military commander.

Presentation on Jemaah Islamiyah’s leadership and history, by The Long War Journal:


Click image to view presentation of Jemaah Islamiyah’s leadership.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • IK says:

    Great job, as usual, by the Indonesians, espcially Det 88. This country has done a fantastic job of containing the Jihadists, and is a thriving, properous, democracy. It’s a model for other majority muslim countires. Looking at you Pakistian.

  • Tyler says:

    I hadn’t known that about Det 88’s namesake. Poetic justice to say the least.
    JI is a bit unique from Al Qaeda in that they don’t have nearly as much of a self-sustaining personnel infrastructure. Camps and recruitment networks that can quickly train new bombmakers and organizers to replace the dead and captured. As such, losing such a seasoned expert commander like Dulmatin is potentially a massive blow.
    Which is probably a big reason why only three individuals on the Most Wanted Terror list commanded equal or larger bounties…Osama, Zawahiri, and Mullah Omar.

  • Cordell says:

    “The US had posted a $10 million reward for information leading to Dulmatin’s capture.”
    Just out curiosity, will the U.S. pay out the $10 million bounty in this case, and if so to whom? (I suspect your intelligence contacts would be able to tell you.)
    Frankly, all the members of Detachment 88 richly deserve a share of this reward for their efforts and heroism in taking on such a dangerous group. As seen recently in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the terrorists often target the agencies targeting them. Publicity surrounding this bounty payment could further incentivize other anti-terrorist groups around the world, particularly in Pakistan which harbors the terrorists with the biggest bounties. This $10 million payout might be the best U.S. taxpayer money ever spent. My thanks to those in Ozzie-land who helped to establish Detachment 88.

  • davidp says:

    Thanks for updating and re-posting the JI leaders presentation. I notice that several of them, including Dulmatin, were trainers in explosives and many of their ‘students’ have not been caught.
    It is also interesting to note that the Madrid bombers were suspected to have trained at a JI camp in Indonesia, along with hundreds of other Europe based terrorist recruits.


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