Manila, Oct 10 (efe-epa).- A pregnant Indonesian woman suspected of planning a suicide bombing attack in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao was arrested on Saturday along with two other suspects, Filipino military sources said.
The woman was identified by the Philippines Army as Rezky Fantasya Rullie, known as “Cici”, who is the widow of Andi Baso, a suspected Indonesia militant who died in clashes in August with security forces in Sulu province.
Rullie had planned to carry out a suicide attack on Mindanao’s main city, Zamboanga, after giving birth, general Edgar Arevalo, spokesman for the Philippines Armed Forces, said, without specifying what stage of the pregnancy she was at.
“Nana Isirani/Renzy Fantasya Rullie alias ‘Cici’ is the spouse of Andi/Amin Baso. According to intel reports, she has committed to do a suicide bombing mission in Zamboanga City after she has given birth,” Arevalo said in a statement.
During the raid by the Joint Force deployed in Sulu, Inda Nurhaina and Fatima Sandra Jimlani, identified as the wives of two other members of the Abu Sayyaf Islamist terror group, were also detained.
Among the items seized was a vest equipped with tube bombs and other components of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The security forces said Saturday that they were combing the area for suicide bombers since August 24, when two women blew themselves up in a double attack in a central area of ??Jolo, killing 15 people and wounding 74. The two suicide bombers were widows of slain Abu Sayyaf militants.
Jolo, which is part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, was the site of two huge bomb explosions in January 2019 in an attack by foreign militants coordinated by Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic State affiliate.
That attack, which targeted a cathedral during Sunday mass, which left 21 people dead – in addition to the two suicide bombers – and more than 100 wounded, was the deadliest to hit the restive southern Philippines in years.
Abu Sayyaf, which pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State in 2014, was founded in the 1990s on the neighboring island of Basilan, and has carried out several attacks and kidnappings of foreigners.
A peace deal was signed for Bangsamoro, the autonomous Muslim region that was formally established in 2019 as part of negotiations between the Philippine government and the rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), who laid down their weapons in exchange for heading the transitional government of that new Muslim region with about four million inhabitants, until elections are held in 2022.
So far, 30 percent of the 40,000 fighters of the MILF, the country’s largest Muslim armed group, have been demobilized.
But there remain radicalized Islamist cells in Mindanao that have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State terror group, including Abu Sayyaf, although they were greatly weakened after being defeated by the Philippine army in Marawi, a city they occupied in May 2017 and from which they were expelled after five months of fierce fighting in which nearly 1,000 militants died. EFE-EPA