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U.S. Gives $10M Cash Reward to Masked Filipino Terror Informants

AP | June 7, 2007 
HRVOJE HRANJSKI

MANILA, Philippines -- The U.S. handed over its largest reward in the campaign to wipe out al-Qaida-linked militants in the southern Philippines, giving $10 million on Thursday to Filipino informants in the killing of two top terror suspects.

Four masked informants collected on promised $5 million rewards against Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani, who was slain in a September clash on southern Jolo island, and his presumed successor, Abu Sulaiman, who was killed on Jolo in January.

More than 7,000 Filipino soldiers -- backed by U.S. military surveillance, training and other noncombatant assistance -- have been waging an offensive on Jolo since August.

"Information provided by the brave Filipino citizens recognized today was instrumental in assisting the Armed Forces of the Philippines to track down and locate these two terrorist leaders," the U.S. Embassy said.

The four men, their faces covered to protect their identities, received the money in five black plastic suitcases at the Jolo provincial capitol complex from embassy officials.

Philippine marine Brig. Gen. Juancho Sabban said three of the informants, including two former Abu Sayyaf members, shared the $5 million reward for providing information that led to the clash that killed Janjalani and led to the discovery of his decomposing body. DNA tests confirmed the December discovery in the jungles of Jolo.

The fourth informant got the $5 million bounty on Sulaiman for giving information that resulted in the gunbattle that killed him. In January, U.S.-trained Philippine army special forces gunned down Abu Sulaiman, a veteran Abu Sayyaf guerrilla.

Janjalani and Sulaiman were accused of plotting the kidnapping of American and Filipino tourists from a resort on the southeastern island of Palawan in 2001, during which one of the Americans was beheaded, and a 2004 ferry blast that killed 116 people in Manila.

A manhunt continues for other Abu Sayyaf commanders and two top Indonesian militants who are wanted for their alleged roles in the 2002 nightclub bombings that killed 202 people on Indonesia's Bali island.

Washington has offered rewards for the capture of Dulmatin and Umar Patek, key operatives of the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah network, whose operatives are believed to be training Filipino insurgents in bomb-making. There is a $10 million reward for Dulmatin, who goes by one name, and $1 million for Patek.

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