The Philippine military said Monday it dug up what it believes is the body of an Indonesian bomb-making expert who is a top suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings, Asia's worst terrorist attack.
Ammar Usman, widely known as Dulmatin, was believed to have fled to the southern Philippines in 2003 with Umar Patek, another militant from the Indonesia-based group Jemaah Islamiyah, after they were implicated in the Bali nightclub blasts that killed 202 people, most of whom were Australian tourists.
The United States has offered a $10 million bounty for Dulmatin.
A report from the Philippine marines said the body was exhumed Monday afternoon in the town of Panglima Sugala in Tawi-Tawi, the sprawling archipelago's southernmost province, and had been identified by informants.
The report, relayed to The Associated Press by two military intelligence officials and one police official, said the body's physical characteristics were similar to Dulmatin's, the clothing was consistent with what he was known to wear, and there were wounds to the head, chest and right foot similar to injuries he was reported to have suffered in running battles with Philippine troops in dense jungle.
The army reported in January 2007 that Dulmatin was believed to have been hit by gunfire in a special forces commando raid that killed a top Abu Sayyaf leader, Abu Sulaiman. Dulmatin was sighted afterward, with four of his children saying he told them goodbye just hours before the military raided their house and arrested them in May.
Offensive hit Abu Sayyaf leaders
A U.S.-backed offensive by up to 10,000 Philippine soldiers led to the killing of Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khaddafy Janjalani in September and has kept Dulmatin, Patek and other Islamic militants on the run.
The body was undergoing DNA testing for a possible match with his six children, who were tested after being captured with his wife in two groups since October 2006 and deported to Indonesia, the report said.
Patek and Dulmatin are believed to have been on the run with members of the al-Qaida-linked terrorism group Abu Sayyaf. Philippine security officials say the men have held bomb-making classes, with the techniques used in bombings blamed on the Abu Sayyaf.
Philippine security officials believe the men were involved in helping the Abu Sayyaf carry out a 2004 bombing that gutted a ferry and killed 116 people in the country's worst terror attack.
The two have been together since the 1990s in the eastern Indonesian city of Ambon, where Muslims and Christians fought bloody battles, according to an intelligence report.