CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Security forces arrested 3 alleged supporters of the local ISIS group following a raid early Wednesday in an apartment in the southern Filipino province of Cagayan de Oro, officials said.
Officials said the raiders also seized 4 M203 grenades and ammonium nitrate which is commonly used by rebels in the manufacture of improvised explosives from the apartment rented by Irene Romato Idris in the village of Macasandig.
Idris and two other persons - Monaliza Solaiman Romato and Tahera Romato Taher – were arrested during the raid and were being investigated, but the military said Romato, alias Monay, is now the matriarch of the Maute clan following the capture of her aunt, Farhana Romato Maute, the mother of brothers Maddie, Omar and Abdullah Maute – local ISIS commanders who are currently fighting security forces in the besieged city of Marawi.
“She is providing financial and logistical support to the Maute terrorist group and her house in Cagayan De Oro served as a sanctuary and transit point for Maute terrorist members,” said Army Brigadier General Gilbert Gapay, of the Eastern Mindanao Command.
He said Romato, whose son Colingling is also a member of the local ISIS group and serves as liaison for the jihadist group in Cagayan de Oro. She also provided sanctuary to jihadists Farida Romato, Al Majid Romato and Al Jadid Romato during their stay here and prior to their capture in Iloilo province on June 18.
Gapay said Romato has links with jihadist Mohammad Noaim Maute, alias Abu Jadid, who is a trained bomber and being hunted down by the authorities. He said security forces were also tracking down other terrorists in the South.
“This effort is part of the continuous tracking and monitoring being implemented by Eastern Mindanao Command units against the personalities listed in the Arrest Order, to prevent terroristic activities to be carried out in Eastern Mindanao The arrest prevented the Maute of staging diversionary attacks in Northern Mindanao and will adversely affect the logistics support network of the group,” he said. (With a report from Rhoderick Beñez.)
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