Skip to comments.Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf terrorists sneak out of prison; inside job suspected.
Posted on 07/15/2003 8:49:09 AM PDT by Steel Wolf
Police see 'inside job' behind Al-Ghozi escape
POLICE were looking at the possibility that the escape of a bomb expert of the Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah and two members of the Abu Sayyaf was an "inside job," a police officer investigating the incident said Tuesday.
"There was no forcible exit. There was no damage to the door, window or any part of the prison cell," Chief Superintendent Eduardo Matillano, head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), told GMA-7 radio and television.
"There was a serious neglect of duty on the part of the guards and officials," Matillano said, a day after Indonesian Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi, Abu Sayyaf bandits Abdulmukim Ong Edris and Omaar Opik Lasal bolted from their cells at the Camp Crame national police headquarters in Quezon City.
Matillano said police announced Monday's dawn escape only that afternoon because jail guards failed to do a "physical headcount" of the intelligence group cells where the fugitives were once detained.
"Their headcount was on paper only," Matillano said.
Matillano added they were interrogating another prisoner, who shared a cell with Edris. The inmate was not identified.
"He said he knew Al-Ghozi had plans to escape," Matillano said. But the inmate, who was charged with kidnap for ransom, did not flee with the terrorists, the police officer added.
Edris' cell was beside the one that Al-Ghozi shared with Lasal, Matillano said. "He (the inmate) said he was sleeping (when Al-Ghozi and the bandits escaped)," Matillano said.
In a separate interview over "Unang Balita" newscast on Tuesday, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Chief Superintendent Reynaldo Velasco said he had alerted Manila police for possible terror attacks following Al-Ghozi's escape.
"We will prevent any possible attacks," Velasco said. "He (Al-Ghozi) was already planning attacks before he was arrested."
Meanwhile, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Edgardo Manda appealed to the public to bear with stricter security measures at the airport in the wake of the terrorists' escape.
"A little inconvenience. We have to double check tickets, passports and IDs," Manda told the same news program.
But Manda said he doubted Al-Ghozi would slip out of the country through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Manda also said airport authorities were prepared for possible terrorist attacks.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Monday ordered the relief of police officers and personnel responsible for Al-Ghozi's security and the filing of criminal and administrative charges against them.
Al-Ghozi escaped just as Australian Prime Minister John Howard promised five million Australian dollars in aid to Macapagal's anti-terror campaign.
Howard, who was on the first leg of his Asian tour, was in the Philippines for a three-day official visit that sought to strengthen regional alliance against terrorism. He is scheduled to leave Tuesday for Japan and South Korea.
Al-Ghozi is facing trial in the Philippines for his alleged role in the bombing a Light Rail Transit (LRT) station in downtown Manila in December 2000. He is also serving a 17-year prison sentence for illegal possession of firearms.
The JI is reportedly a network of Saudi-born fugitive Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist organization.
Father Rohman Al Ghozi, the JI bombmaker, is not the kind of guy you want running around your neighborhood. They dropped the ball big time letting this guy walk out of jail.
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