Philippine security forces said Wednesday they had captured a Spanish supporter of Islamic State-linked militants and the widow of a Filipino leader of last year’s siege in southern Marawi city through separate arrests.
The Philippine military said it arrested a man identified as Spaniard Abdelhakim Labidi Adib, 20, earlier in the week on the southern island of Basilan, where he allegedly was associating with militants from the Abu Sayyaf Group, the country’s most notorious Islamic extremist group.
He was carrying a bag containing bomb-making components when caught trying to evade arrest, authorities said.
The widow, Najiya Dilangalen Karen Maute, was arrested Tuesday afternoon when police operatives stormed her house in southern Cotabato city, Senior Inspector Jemar delos Santos said.
“The wife of the demised Abdullah Maute of the ISIS-inspired Maute group was arrested for rebellion,” delos Santos said in a brief report, referring to Islamic State (IS) by another acronym.
The widow was among dozens of known Maute supporters and planners whose names were listed on an arrest order, he said.
“This is a result of continuous intelligence gathering and hard work of PNP (Philippine National Police) personnel,” delos Santos said, adding that the woman was being kept in a regional detention center.
Abdullah Maute and his brother, Omarkhayam, and their followers provided firepower to Isnilon Hapilon, the acknowledged head of IS in Southeast Asia, in laying siege to Marawi in May 2017.
More than 1,200 people were killed in a five-month battle that ensued. A majority of the dead were militants, including Hapilon, while the rest were soldiers, policemen and civilians.
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