Philippines captures Indonesian woman suspected of planning suicide bomb attack
Philippine forces have captured an Indonesian would-be suicide bomber and have accused her of being involved in a “very imminent” plot to attack a town in the country’s south.
- The Indonesian woman’s parents were also militants who killed more than 20 people in a suicide attack during a Sunday Mass
- Her husband was blamed for a 2016 bombing in which a child was killed
- Soldiers and police continue to hunt for at least eight other foreign militants in Sulu
Army troops and police arrested Rezky Fantasya Rullie with two Filipino women, who were suspected to be the wives of Abu Sayyaf militants.
They were tracked to a house in the southern Jolo town in Sulu province, where authorities found an explosive vest and bomb components, the military’s Western Mindanao Command said.
The military also announced that Ms Rullie’s husband Andi Baso, who is wanted in the Philippines and Indonesia for his alleged involvement in bomb attacks, had been killed in an August 29 clash near Sulu’s Patikul town.
Ms Rullie was arrested with two other women, including Inda Nurhaina, who the military said is the wife of Abu Sayyaf commander Ben Yadah.
Mr Yadah, who is known by his nom de guerre Ben Tatoo, is one of the main suspects in the 2016 beheadings in Sulu of two Canadian tourists, who were taken hostage by ransom-seeking Abu Sayyaf gunmen.
Mr Yadah remains at large and has been linked to recent kidnappings in Sulu.
Suspected suicide bomber the child of extremists
Army chief Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana said Ms Rullie was involved in a “very imminent” plot to carry out a suicide attack in Jolo before her arrest.
Her parents were a militant couple.
Philippine authorities said they had staged a suicide attack that killed more than 20 people and wounded more than 100 others during Sunday Mass in the Jolo cathedral in the predominantly Muslim province of Sulu.
Her partner Andi Baso had been blamed for a 2016 explosion that killed a child and wounded three others in a church in the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan.
General Sobejana said he was killed in a gunfight with troops in Sulu in August and a DNA test was being done to confirm if a body recovered by troops was that of the Indonesian militant.
Crackdown continues but Abu Sayyaf remains national security threat
Philippine troops have intensified a manhunt for would-be bombers in the restive south.
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In August, nearly simultaneous suicide attacks by two women militants killed 15 people and wounded 75 others in Jolo town, in the country’s worst extremist attack this year.
The two women who carried out the August 24 suicide attacks in Jolo were the wives of Abu Sayyaf militants who had died, reflecting how extremism has involved families in some cases.
“It has become a family affair for a few who have allowed themselves to be wrongly indoctrinated,” General Sobejana said.
At least eight other foreign militants in Sulu and southern Maguindanao province were being hunted by Government forces.
They include militants from Indonesia and Egypt, General Sobejana said.
The United States and the Philippines have separately blacklisted the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist organisation for bombings, kidnappings for ransom and beheadings.
It has been weakened by battle setbacks, surrenders and factionalism but remains a national security threat along with a number of smaller armed groups associated with the Islamic State group.