MANILA, KOMPAS.com – Philippine military and police forces arrested an Indonesian woman for suspected involvement in an impending suicide bomb attack by Abu Sayyaf militants in the island of Sulu.
“Army troops and police arrested Rezky Fantasya Rullie with two Filipino women suspected to be the wives of Abu Sayyaf militants, in a house in southern Jolo town in Sulu province,” the Associated Press news agency quoted the military’s Western Mindanao Command as saying.
“[The authorities] found an explosive vest and bomb components [as evidence]... 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 the town of Patikul in Sulu.”
They added that eight foreign militants from Indonesia, Egypt and other countries, are still at large and pursued by government forces.
“Rullie’s parents were a militant couple who staged a suicide attack [in 2019] which killed more than 20 people and wounded more than 100 others during mass in Jolo,” Philippine army chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana told the Associated Press.
Philippine authorities said Rullie’s husband 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.
“[Andi Baso] was killed in a gunbattle with troops in Sulu in August and a DNA test was being done to confirm if a body recovered by troops was his,” Sobejana said.
He added that Indonesian authorities were aware of Philippine efforts to locate and capture Indonesian militants in southern Philippines.
Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Teuku Faizasyah confirmed that he received word of the operation that netted Rullie.
“The Indonesian Embassy in Manila and the Indonesian Consulate-General in Davao are verifying the details of the operation with the Filipino authorities,” he said.
Philippine troops have intensified a manhunt for would-be bombers in the south after two suicide attacks by women militants killed 15 people and wounded 75 others in Jolo last August.
The US named Abu Sayyaf a terrorist organization because of its links to Al-Qaeda and ISIS. The group is notorious for kidnapping and killing foreigners in Sulu and other parts of Mindanao.
(Writers: Aditya Jaya Iswara, Ihsanuddin | Editors: Aditya Jaya Iswara, Fabian Januarius Kuwado)
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