By Aaron Recuenco
Government intelligence agents have arrested in Cagayan de Oro City a 26-year old nurse and his wife for allegedly supporting the international extremist group Islamic State of Iran and Syria (ISIS) in the country.
Eyadzhemar Abdusalam and his wife Catherine Dianne Palmitos were collared in a checkpoint in Cagayan de Oro City on Wednesday by joint police and military operatives, mostly from the government intelligence agencies.
Chief Supt. Timoteo Pacleb, director of the Nothern Mindanao regional police, said it took months before government forces were able to get hold of the elusive Abdusalam.
“The arrest was the result of an intelligence-driven operation that started during the Marawi siege in 2017,” said Pacleb.
Abdusalam, who goes by the name Medical Jihad, came under the radar of the intelligence community after he was monitored to have been sending medical supplies to the Maute gunmen who laid siege in Marawi City.
A background check revealed that Abdusalam is a registered nurse who graduated at the Notre Dame of Dadiangas University in General Santos City. He is also a licensed Emergency Medical Technician.
Prior and during the Marawi City siege, intelligence operatives found out about his alleged several attempts to go to Syria to join the ISIS.
After the Maute and their sympathizers were defeated in Octobet last year in Marawi, Pacleb said Abdusalam was monitored to be plotting to carry out an attack targeting the Black Nazarene Procession in Manila.
“He also considered other Catholic festivities in Zamboanga City as potential targets of attack,” said Pacleb.
Security officials also tagged Abdusalam to be soliciting funds for the widows and orphans of Maute and ISIS sympathizers who died in Marawi City and funding for the manufacture of improvised explosive devices.