Security forces have arrested nine women who were tagged as potential suicide bombers in a series of police and military operations in Patikul and Jolo towns of Sulu, the military disclosed on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said three of those arrested are daughters of slain Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan identified as Isara Jalmaani Abduhajan, 36; Jedah Abduhajan Amin, 28; and Elena Tasum Sawadjaan-Abun, 40.
He said the three were arrested in Barangay Bangkal in Patikul town and yielded several components of Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
Gonzales said they also arrested the widow of ASG sub-leader Walid Abun in Kalimayahan Village in Barangay Latih, with another suspect identified as Firdauzia Said who is a widow of ASG sub-leader Mannul Said.
In an another law enforcement operation in Barangay Tulay in Jolo, security forces arrested Nudsza Ismanu Aslun– widow of ASG member Alias Jabar and Nurshahada A. Isnain–wife ASG member Alias Akram, one of the trusted followers of ASG sub-leader Mundi Sawadjaan.
Other personalities under custody for the same charges were identified as Linda Darun Maruji, Risa Jhalil, and Sharifa Rajani, all of Kalimayahan Village.
Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, explained that the nine women were tagged as potential bombers since they are now being used by the ASG for the planned bombings.
“They are now using the widows and wives of ASG because they are having difficulty in recruitment. Besides, it is difficult to identify women as suicide bombers so they are taking advantage of it,” said Vinluan.
Asked how sure the military is in branding the nine arrested women as possible suicide bombers, Vinluan said: “The IED components are already in their possession. So possibly, they are starting to orient them.”
Gonzales said the nine arrested women are now facing various cases that include violation of R.A. 9516 or Illegal/ Unlawful Possession, Manufacture, Dealing In, Acquisition or Disposition of Firearms, Ammunition or Explosives.