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9 ASG women arrested for possession of explosives


ZAMBOANGA CITY – Nine women described by the military as “potential suicide bombers”, all related to high-ranking members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), were arrested in operations launched by government troops in at least three towns in Sulu last Friday, officials reported Tuesday.

Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr. said soldiers together with policemen implemented search warrants in Jolo, Indanan, and Patikul in Sulu province at dawn on Friday.

“This led to the apprehension of nine female potential suicide bombers who are related to some of the notorious leaders and members of the ASG,” Vinluan said.

Of the nine women, seven were arrested in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu. They were identified as Elena Tasum Sawadjaan-Abun alias “Iling”; 40, daughter of the late ASG leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan and widow of ASG sub-leader Walid Abun; Linda Darun Maruji alias “Appuh Yayang”, 66, sister of Hajan Sawadjaan; Firdauzia Said alias “Firdausia Salvin”, widow of ASG sub-leader Mannul Said; Risa Jalil, wife of ASG member Nasser Sawadjaan Hadjail alias “Labah”, nephew of Hajan Sawadjaan; Sharifa Rajani alias “Indah Wida” “Widz”, wife of ASG member Mukti alias Mufti; and two daughters of the late Hajan Sawadjaan – Isara Jalmaani Abduhajan, 36; and Jedah Abduhajan-Amin, 28.

The troops seized from their possession several components for improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including one energizer 9V battery, one non-electric blasting cap, a backpack, ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO), a detonating cord, 2.5 inches G.I. pipe, 184 1-inch concrete nails, and two android phones.

The two other women – Nudzha Ismani Aslun alias “Nudz” and “Akih”, 26, widow of ASG member Jabar who is a follower of sub-leader Mundi Sawadjaan; and Nurshahada Isnain alias “Dah”, 19, wife of ASG member Akram, one of the trusted followers of Mundi – were nabbed in Zone 3, Barangay Tulay, Jolo.

They were caught in possession of one push button switch, one 9V battery, one non-electric blasting cap, one backpack, ANFO, detonating cord, 2.5 inches G.I. pipe, 340 pieces of 1-inch concrete nail, one MK2 grenade, a booklet entitled “Jihad Fil Sabilillaah”, several identification cards, and a rough sketch of their alleged terror plan.

The nine women were arrested for illegal possession of explosives.

Vinluan attributed the apprehension of the suspects to the hard work of the intelligence units.

“I wish to congratulate the troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu, the different PNP units, and our intelligence operatives for this remarkable success,” Vinluan added.

The nine women and the confiscated items were turned over to the police in Sulu for documentation and filing of criminal charges.