Abu Sayyaf Group

9 women linked to Abu Sayyaf Group arrested by AFP, PNP

Rambo Talabong
9 women linked to Abu Sayyaf Group arrested by AFP, PNP

ARRESTED. Some of the women arrested by the police and the military in Sulu on February 19, 2021.

AFP photo

3 of the women arrested are daughters of Abu Sayyaf Group leader Hatib Sawadjaan

Police and soldiers arrested 9 women linked to the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), the military said on Tuesday, February 23. Among those arrested were 3 daughters of ASG leader Hatib Sawadjaan.

In separate operations in Sulu on Febuary 19, the police and military arrested the following women:

  • Isara Jalmaani Abduhajan, 36 – Sawadjaan’s daughter
  • Jedah Abduhajan Amin, 28 – Sawadjaan’s daughter
  • Elena Tasum Sawadjaan-Abun, 40 – Sawadjaan’s daughter
  • Firdauzia Said – Widow of ASG subleader Mannul Said
  • Nudsza Ismanu Aslun – Widow of ASG member alias Jabar
  • Nurshahada Isnain – Wife of ASG member alias Akram
  • Linda Darun Maruji
  • Risa Jhalil
  • Sharifa Rajani

Isara and Jedah were arrested with a warrant in Barangay Bangkal in Patikul, Sulu, while their sister Elena and Firdauzia Said were arrested in Kalimahayan Village in the same town. Aslun and Isnain, meanwhile, were arrested in Jolo, Sulu. The military did not specify where the other women were arrested.

The government forces recovered improvised explosive device (IED) components, including switches, batteries, pipes, concrete nails, blasting caps, and suspected ammonium nitrate fuel oil.

The police and the military tagged the women as “potential suicide bombers” but will only file illegal possession of firearms complaints instead of complaints under the controversial anti-terror law, which the military lobbied for so that they could use it against terrorists and their supporters.

Asked to clarify the extent of the women’s involvement in the ASG’s activities, Western Mindanao Command chief Lieutenant General Corleto Vinluan told reporters in a text message that the women have undergone “orientation” about suicide bombing and were assembling IEDs in their homes.

“They are using wives and widows now because they are having a hard time recruiting males, and it is more difficult to identify and detect female suicide bombers,” Vinluan said in Filipino. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.