MANILA - The wife of an Indonesian militant suspected of involvement in the deadly 2002 Bali Bombings has been arrested on the remote southwestern Philippine island of Jolo, the military said yesterday.
The Philippines believes Estidia Pitono's husband, Dulmatin, is sheltering with fellow suspect Umar Patek among the Abu Sayyaf group, the Philippines' most violent Islamic separatists.
Umar Patek and Dulmatin, who has a US$10 million bounty on his head from the US State Department, are members of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), a regional terror network that seeks an Islamic superstate in parts of southeast Asia.
A senior intelligence officer said Pitono, also an Indonesian, was Dulmatin's wife and had been arrested with two children in the town of Pakitul.
"These people are used in the logistics run by the Abu Sayyaf and JI," said a senior army intelligence officer.
Philippine security officials have said Dulmatin and Umar Patek were part of a group of up to 10 Indonesians hiding on Jolo and training Abu Sayyaf members to build sophisticated bombs.
Officials said the woman was brought to military headquarters in the southern port city of Zamboanga, where she would be interrogated on the movements and activities of Muslim militants on Jolo island.
"She would probably be charged with violating the country's immigration laws because she has no travel documents," said the intelligence official. "We're not aware of her links with some of the deadly bombing activities of her husband's group."
Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for the worst militant attack in the Philippines, the 2004 bombing of a ferry near Manila that killed more than 100 people.
More than 6,000 soldiers, backed by US intelligence and equipment, are trying to flush out about 200 Abu Sayyaf militants holed up in the interior of Jolo.