Indonesian suicide bomber arrested in Jolo

An Indonesian woman suspected of planning a suicide bomb attack in Mindanao was arrested with two others in a pre-dawn raid in Jolo, Sulu, on Saturday, October 10.

The military identified the woman as Rezky Fantasya Rullie also known as "Cici," the widow of Indonesian terrorist Andi Baso killed during an encounter with troops in Sulu in August, Joint Task Force Sulu spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Ronaldo Mateo said in a statement.

Mateo said that two other adult females were arrested during the raid – Inda Nurhaina, wife of Abu Sayyaf subleader Ben Tatoo; and Fatima Sandra Jimlani, wife of Abu Sayyaf member Jahid Jam. All 3 are detained at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU) of Sulu Police Provincial Office. 

The raid, done through a search warrant issued by the Regional Trial Court in Jolo, was conducted in a house believed to be owned by Tatoo, Mateo said.

The arrests were made less than two months after two female suicide bombers blew themselves up in Jolo, which killed 15 people and wounded 74 others.

Security forces blamed the August 24 attack on the Abu Sayyaf militant group.

Mateo said Rullie is also believed to be the daughter of two suicide bombers who killed 21 people in an attack on a Catholic cathedral in Jolo in early 2019.

That attack was blamed on a group linked to Abu Sayyaf.

"We have been pursuing foreign terrorist suicide bombers in Sulu after the twin bombing of Jolo town (in August)," said JTF Sulu Commander Brigadier General William Gonzales.

"Rullie was first on our list since we have received intelligence reports that she is going to conduct (a) suicide bombing."

A vest rigged with pipe bombs was seized along with other improvised explosive device components from the Jolo island house that is believed to be owned by an Abu Sayyaf leader, the military said.

Listed by the United States as a terrorist organization, Abu Sayyaf is a loose network of Islamist militants blamed for the Philippines' worst terror attacks and kidnappings of foreign tourists and Christian missionaries .

Suicide attacks were once very rare in the Philippines, but since July 2018 there have been at least 5. – With reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com