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Southeast Asia
Update: Philippine Troops Praised for Operation - Fathur still dead
Intrigue and corruption in the P.I.
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo visited a morgue Monday to look at the bullet-ridden body of one of Asia’s most-wanted terrorists and praised security forces for gunning him down. Indonesian-born Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi, who was regarded as a bombmaking expert, had been convicted of explosives possession, confessed to deadly bombings in Manila and was accused of plotting terror attacks by the al-Qaida-linked terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah. He escaped from Philippine police headquarters three months ago, embarrassing Arroyo and her government, who are strong supporters of the U.S.-led war on terror. The confirmation of Al-Ghozi’s death gives Arroyo a badly needed victory ahead of a visit to the Philippines Saturday by close ally President Bush.
"I mean, we never really talked about it, but it was always there, y'know? It was so embarrassing!"
National police chief Hermogenes Ebdane said Al-Ghozi was shot to death Sunday after he and his companion opened fire on a joint police-military team that tried to stop their vehicle near Pigkawayan town. Local police, however, denied any shooting took place at the location.
"Nope. Wudn't here. It was... ummm... someplace else. No need for any Abu Sayyaf or MILF or somebody to come around asking questions... No need for Dire Revenge™..."
National Security Adviser Roilo Golez denied speculation that Al-Ghozi had been arrested earlier and killed while in custody, possibly to prevent him from talking about his jailbreak that was reportedly arranged by corrupt officers.
OK, but find and punish those guys for incompetence if nothing else
"Reynaldo! Beat them up!"
"Hokay, boss!"
The ABS-CBN TV network broadcast pictures of Al-Ghozi’s nearly naked corpse in a morgue. Arroyo flew to the southern Philippines to take a personal look at the body while wearing a surgical mask.
"Dead or Alive" works for her too
An Indonesian diplomat in the southern Philippines said he was negotiating to have the remains repatriated.
"Wait for a couple weeks of public display then you guys can have ’em"
"The death of Al-Ghozi signals that terrorism will never get far in the Philippines and that the long but clumsy arm of the law will eventually get them," Arroyo said in a statement. "This event should lift much of the anxieties of our people. I would like to commend all military and police forces involved," she said.
Attaboys all around
Financial markets reacted positively. Philippine shares closed at their highest level in 18 months. "It’s a step forward in terms of getting terrorist organizations in Southeast Asia under control," Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. But Downer cautioned that even with Al-Ghozi dead, "I don’t ever want to say the risk is gone. The risk is there."
There's lots more like him, just waiting. The good news is that the wannabes aren't as good as the .90 calibers...
Al-Ghozi was serving a 12-year prison sentence when he slipped out of the heavily secured police intelligence building on July 14 with two suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf, another al-Qaida-linked terrorist group, setting off fears of new attacks. He was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty on a separate charge of explosives possession. Al-Ghozi, 32, led Philippine police to a ton of TNT that officials say was intended for planned attacks in Singapore on Western targets. Ebdane, the police chief, said Al-Ghozi was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital with gunshot wounds to his chest, both arms and one side of his body.
"Which side?"
"The top side."
"It was just unfortunate that when the troops flagged down the vehicle, instead of stopping, they fired at our troops and there was a brief shootout," Ebdane said. He said Al-Ghozi fired two shots, and that police later recovered a .45-caliber pistol from him.
Unfortunate? For him, maybe, but I feel better that even corrupt P.I. army officers can’t bring him back now
The other man traveling with Al-Ghozi was able to escape in the darkness and heavy rain, he said.
huh? so they half-assed even this? sounds like the killing didn’t happen as they said
The identity of the body was later confirmed to be that of Al-Ghozi based on a fingerprint comparison with his police records, Ebdane said. However, the police chief of Pigkawayan town, where Ebdane said Al-Ghozi was gunned down, denied there was any gunfire in the area at the time, or that Al-Ghozi was fatally shot there. "Definitely there was no encounter. There was no exchange of fire," Suyom said by telephone.
"I know nuthing! Nuthing!" said Sgt Schultz Suyom
Suyom said he responded to a call by a man who claimed to have heard gunshots in Pigkawayan, but found nothing. He said no police or military unit had coordinated with him.
Could there be a reason for that?
Asked to explain the discrepancy, Ebdane told reporters there was "no time" to coordinate with local police. He said security forces acted on an intelligence tip that gave them the description of Al-Ghozi’s vehicle.
I don't know if the Pigville cop shoppe's telling the truth or if Edbane is. The locals may not want MILF and Abu Sayyaf to come in and shoot the place up for revenge. The coppers may have captured al-Ghozi and then bumped him off so he couldn't talk. They may not have coordinated with the locals because they were afraid Barney Fife was going to suggest to his wife's cousin's brother-in-law's uncle that he tell his good friend to take another route. Or it could have happened just the way Hermogenes said. The important thing is that al-Ghozi seems to be worm food.
Posted by:Frank G