Maute recruiter falls; cops on alert
THE National Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday announced the arrest of a suspect for spreading radical Islamic extremist propaganda, recruiting foreign fighters to come to the Philippines to sow terror and inciting rebellion through the use of the internet and social media.
The 36-year-old suspect was identified as Karen Aizha Hamidon, who was arrested in her home in Taguig City by NBI agents on Oct. 11, the bureau’s director, Dante A. Gierran, said.
Gierran said Hamidon has been a person of interest to authorities since she gained international notoriety in the middle of 2016 when she successfully recruited several Indian nationals to come to the Philippines to join radical Islamic extremist groups in Mindanao.
Gierran said Hamidon is the wife of Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, a.k.a. Tokboy a.k.a. Abu Sharifa, the former leader of the Ansar Khalifa Philippines, a group responsible in the September 2016 Davao City night market bombing in cooperation with the Maute Group, as well as the failed attempt to bomb the US Embassy in Manila in December 2016.
Mohammad Jaafar Maguid was killed by police in January 2017 in Sarangani province.
Gierran said HamIdon is a known associate of Musa Cerantonio, an Australian Islamist preacher who has inspired numerous foreigners to join the Islamic State or ISIS. She is also under investigation by other foreign intelligence agencies for her possible links to international terrorist financing and her spreading of radical Islamic propaganda, Gierran added.
NBI agents arrested Hamidon on Oct. 11 after she posted a message on several online groups and the social media application Telegram calling on Muslims to come to the Philippines and join the fight against the government forces in Marawi City in order to establish a province of the Islamic State.
Armed with a search warrant, the agents seized her cellphone, laptop, tablet and other electronic devices used in her illegal activities.
A forensic examination of her cellphone showed she posted 296 messages promoting rebellion in Marawi City.
Hamidon was charged before the Justice Department for 14 counts of rebellion or insurrection under the Revised Penal Code, as amended, in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Rebellion charges will also be filed by the NBI against Hamidon in relation to her 296 social media posts supposedly calling on foreign and local Muslims to join the fight against government forces in Marawi.
The charges against Hamidon were announced a day after President Rodrigo Duterte delcared that Marawi City had been liberated from the terrorists, who overran the city in May.
Duterte had placed the whole of Mindanao under martial law after Maute group-led terror organizations attempted to establish a province of the Islamic State by assaulting Marawi City on May 23.