ZAMBOANGA CITY: Operatives from the police and Joint Task Force-Sulu have arrested nine women with strong ties to Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leaders and members in simultaneous joint law enforcement operations in the said province.
Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, JTF-Sulu commander, announced this only on Tuesday although the suspects were arrested Friday during intelligence-driven law enforcement operations by way of service of warrants of arrest in the towns of Jolo and Patikul.
Gonzales said three of the nine arrested suspects are daughters of the late ASG leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan. They were identified as Isara Jalmaani Abduhajan, 36; Jedah Abduhajan Amin, 28; and, Elena Tasum Sawadjaan-Abun, 40.
He said the troops recovered several improvised explosive device (IED) components when they arrested Isara and Jedah in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul.
Gonzales said Elena, who is the widow of ASG sub-leader Walid Abun, was arrested together with Firdauzia Said also known as Firdausia Salvin, in Kalimayahan Village, Barangay Latih, Patikul. Firdauzia is the widow of ASG sub-leader Mannul Said.
In another law enforcement operation in Barangay Tulay, Jolo, Sulu, the troops also arrested Nudsza Ismanu Aslun — widow of ASG member Alias Abu Jabar, and Nurshahada Isnain — wife of ASG member Alias Abu Akram, one of the trusted followers of ASG sub-leader Mundi Sawadjaan.
“Our combined forces recovered IED components such as switches, batteries, pipes, concrete nails, blasting caps, suspected ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO), and detonating cord. These are now at PNP’s (Philippine National Police) crime lab,” Gonzales said.
He disclosed that the intelligence unit of the police reported that they also found a backpack containing a list of people tasked to deploy IEDs.
Gonzales also said the other suspects placed under the custody of government operatives are Linda Darun Maruji, Risa Jhalil, and Sharifa Rajani all residents of Kalimayahan village, Barangay Latih, Patikul.
He said they were arrested for violation of Republic Act 9516, the law against illegal manufacture, sales, possession of firearms and explosives.
“This is how desperate the remaining terrorists are, willing to sacrifice their families just to get back at government forces. JTF-Sulu will continue to exhaust all our options to put an end to terrorism here in this province. Thus, we will constantly collaborate with the police to press legal charges towards ASG members, supporters, and sympathizers,” Gonzales said.
The military noted that the twin bombings in August in Jolo last year were perpetrated by ASG female suicide bombers.
(Teofilo Garcia, Jr./PNA/SRNY/RSP)