Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Philippines stops planned terror attacks, 9 women arrested

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Philippine authorities may have stopped a planned suicide attacks following the arrest of nine women who are related to notorious Abu Sayyaf terrorist leaders in the southern province of Sulu, officials said Tuesday.

The women were arrested separately in operations mounted by soldiers and police commandos that began on February 19. 

Army Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, lauded the troops for “neutralizing the nine potential suicide bombers that are planning to conduct inhumane acts of terrorism in Sulu and possibly in the neighboring provinces as well.” 

Gonzales urged other members of the pro-ISIS group to surrender peacefully, otherwise they will be hunted down to protect civilians from terrorists. “May this serve as a clear message to the supporters and remaining members of the Abu Sayyaf group, we are always ready to welcome those who wish to return to the folds of the law, but if you will refuse to do so, we will surely hunt you down and prevent you from inflicting havoc in the communities,” he said. 

Army Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command, said the simultaneous operations involved different military and police units that led to the arrest of the suspects in the towns of Jolo, Indanan and Patikul. “This (operation) led to the apprehension of nine female potential suicide bombers who are related to some of the notorious leaders and members of the Abu Sayyaf group,” he said. 

Vinluan said security forces seized an Abu Sayyaf sketch of its terror plan and components in the manufacture of improvised explosives, including AN/FO or ammonium nitrate/fuel oil, a widely used bulk industrial explosive, 524 pieces of concrete nails, a hand grenade and a booklet entitled “Al-Jihad fi Sabilillah.” 

Al-Jihad fi Sabilillah is an Arabic phrase which means “striving or fighting in the path of Allah” and is referred to in the Qur'an. Fundamental to this fight is an underlying just cause. It is a test of devotion and self-sacrifice for the individual. 

Vinluan said the arrest of the suspects was the result of “the persistence and hard work of the intelligence units working silently but intensely for successful operational activities to be attained.” He also commended those who took part in the operations. (Mindanao Examiner)

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