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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 August, 2003, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Escaped Philippine militant killed
Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi
Abdulmukim Edris escaped with Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi
A Muslim extremist who recently escaped from jail with convicted bomb-maker Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi has been killed by Philippine soldiers, the military said on Thursday.

Abdulmukim Edris was apprehended with another suspected militant at an army checkpoint in southern Lanao del Norte province. Both were shot after a scuffle with soldiers, the military said.

Edris was thought to be a member of the brutal kidnapping group Abu Sayyaf, which operates in the southern Philippines.

He escaped from a police jail on 14 July, with another suspected Abu Sayyaf member, Omar Lasal, and al-Ghozi, who is thought to be a high-ranking member of the South East Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiah.

Their escape was a source of international embarrassment for Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

It came while Australian Prime Minister John Howard was making a state visit to Manila, focusing on anti-terrorism cooperation.

Edris was detained at the checkpoint on Thursday, after soldiers recognised him from a wanted poster, said military spokesman Lieutenant General Roy Kyamko.

He was accompanied by a man identified as Mahmud Ismael, who was believed to be a commander of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which officials accuse of having links with Jemaah Islamiah.

After his arrest, Edris volunteered to lead the troops to al-Ghozi's hideout, which is thought to be in the area, Mr Kyamko said.

But on the way, both Edris and Ismael tried to grab the soldiers' weapons.

"They grabbed the firearms of the soldiers, there was a commotion and they were shot," Mr Kyamko said. "Both of them were killed."

Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi's escape is a serious blow to Manila's attempts to crack down on terrorists.

Before he absconded, he had been serving a 17-year prison term for illegally acquiring more than a tonne of explosives and obtaining passports fraudulently.

Police said he had also admitted to a string of deadly bombings in Manila in December 2000, which killed 22 people and injured more than 120.

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