Abu leaders’ kin held for guns, explosives

Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - February 24, 2021 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Nine women, said to be daughters, widows or wives of Abu Sayyaf leaders and members, were arrested in simultaneous raids in Sulu on Friday, military officials confirmed yesterday.

Lt. Jerrica Angela Manongdo, Joint Task Force Sulu and 11th Infantry Division (ID) public affairs division chief, said among those arrested were Isara Jalmaani Abduhajan, 36; Jedah Abduhajan Amin, 28, and Elena Tasum Sawadjaan-Abun, 40, all daughters of slain Abu Sayyaf leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan.

Manongdo said soldiers seized bomb components from Isara and Jedah in a raid on their houses in Barangay Bangkal.

Elena is the widow of sub-leader Walid Abun. She was arrested with Firdauzia Said, widow of another sub-leader identified only as Mannul, in Barangay Latih in Patikul.

Another law enforcement operation in Barangay Tulay in Jolo led to the arrest of Nudsza Ismanu Aslun, widow of an alias Jabar, and Nurshahada Isnain, wife of an alias Akram, a follower of suicide bomber Mundi Sawadjaan.

Manongdo said Linda Darun Maruji, Risa Jhalil and Sharifa Rajani, also relatives of slain Abu Sayyaf bandits, were arrested in Barangay Latih.

Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, Joint Task Force Sulu and 11th ID commander, said those arrested are “potential suicide bombers.”

“This is how desperate the remaining terrorists are, taking advantage of the weakness and innocence of their family members to stage their terroristic acts against any perceived target,” Gonzales said.

He said the suspects face charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

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