AUTHORITIES arrested a Coast Guard personnel and two other alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) under Mundi Sawadjaan during an operation on Friday, October 9, 2020, in Zamboanga City.
A senior member of the group was also arrested on Sunday, October 11. The arrest of these four suspected terrorists followed the capture of a suspected suicide bomber and two other suspected terrorists.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Camilo Cascolan announced on Monday, October 12, 2020, that Kadija Sadji, 31, Abdulman Sarapuddin Tula, 32 and Jailani Al-rafee Sakandal, 31 were arrested in Love Drive, Kampo Islam, Barangay Lower Calarian in Zamboanga on Friday, October 9.
Seized during the operation were an improvised explosive device contained in a can of cookies as well as nine-volt batteries, electrical tools, assorted wires, resistors, metal clips and 500 grams of concrete nails.
Also confiscated from the trio were two hand grenades, a caliber 45 pistol, several rounds of 5.56-mm rifle ammunition, and a black ISIS flag.
Cascolan said the suspects must have been planning more bombings in Zamboanga.
The operation was conducted jointly by operatives from Police Regional Office (PRO) 9, Regional Intelligence Group (IG) and Special Action Force.
Cascolan said Sadji and Tula also serve as ISIS financial conduits of Dawlah Islmiya under Sawadjaan, who was said to be the brains behind the Jolo bombings.
“Tula is identified in police records as (the person) in charge of procuring logistics and provisions for the groups of Sawadjaan and Radullan Sahiron in Sulu,” Cascolan said.
“Sadji is the wife of Al Asgar, son of the late Abu Sayyaf founder Abdurajak Janjalani. She belongs to the same financial conduit cell with Amaida Salvin who was arrested in Zamboanga City in April 16, 2019, and Merhama Abdul Sawari alias Meng who was among four Abu Sayyaf Group sleeper agents who died in a police operation in Parañaque City last June 26, 2020,” he added.
Sakandal, on the other hand, is an active member of the Philippine Coast Guard with the rank of apprentice seaman.
Cascolan said he is undergoing further investigation to determine his role in the activities of the group.
On October 11, Hassan Anang Mohammad alias Usi who is a senior member of the Abu Sayyaf Group allegedly involved in the kidnapping and beheading of Doroteo Gonzales on May 17, 2009 in Al Barka, Basilan, was also arrested.
A warrant for Mohammad’s arrest for the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with ransom was served on him by a composite team from IG, PRO-9, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), National Intelligence Coordinating Agency NICA) and Western Mindanao Command.
Cascolan said the series of neutralization of ASG members is a big blow to the group.
“Well, (this has a) very big impact. Of course, hindi sila masyado makakagalaw ngayon and they know for a fact that they are being watched and we will continuously monitor,” he said.
Over the weekend, troops arrested three members, including an alleged suicide bomber identified as Rezky Fantasya Rullie in Jolo, Sulu.
Cascolan said Rullie is five months pregnant and allegedly planned to stage a suicide bombing after giving birth.
Rulli is allegedly the daughter of the Indonesian couple who perpetrated the January 27, 2019 twin suicide bombings at the Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo.
Cascolan assured that the police and the military are further strengthening its operations against the terrorist group.
“If you will see the performance of our people is being boosted. That only means to say the morale and welfare are high and their welfare is being looked into,” he said.
“I would like to add. That's why we were there in Zamboanga because we were studying the fact that we have to deploy a lot of anti-terrorism forces. Focused units will be there to focus on the activities against or to counter terrorists,” he added.
Earlier, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said from January 1 to September 30, 55 ASG members were killed during the conduct of military operations. (SunStar Philippines)