MANILA, Oct 10, 2020 (AFP) – An Indonesian woman suspected of planning a suicide bomb attack in the southern Philippines was arrested Saturday in a pre-dawn raid, the military said.
The arrest comes less than two months after a pair of female suicide bombers blew themselves up on Jolo island in the Muslim-majority Sulu province, which killed 15 people and wounded 74 others.
Security forces blamed the August 24 attack on the Abu Sayyaf militant group.
The Indonesian woman was identified as Rezky Fantasya Rullie and was the widow of an Indonesian militant killed in Sulu in August, the Joint Task Force for the restive region said in a statement.
She is also believed to be the daughter of two suicide bombers who killed 21 people in an attack on a Catholic cathedral in Jolo early last year, it added.
That attack was blamed on a group linked to Abu Sayyaf.
“We have been pursuing foreign terrorist suicide bombers in Sulu after the twin bombing of Jolo town (in August),” said Brigadier General William Gonzales.
“Rullie was first on our list since we have received intelligence reports that she is going to conduct (a) suicide bombing.”
A vest rigged with pipe bombs was seized along with other improvised explosive device components from the Jolo island house that is believed to be owned by an Abu Sayyaf leader, the military said.
Rullie was detained along with two women who are married to members of Abu Sayyaf, it added.
Listed by the United States as a terrorist organisation, Abu Sayyaf is a loose network of Islamist militants blamed for the Philippines’ worst terror attacks and kidnappings of foreign tourists and Christian missionaries .
Suicide attacks were once very rare in the Philippines, but since July 2018 there have been at least five. mff/amj/gle