Philippines says militant’s widow recruited foreign fighters
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine authorities said Wednesday they have arrested a militant leader’s widow who recruited foreign fighters and spread extremist propaganda related to the siege of a southern city by fighters linked to the Islamic State group.
Complaints for 14 counts of inciting to rebellion have been filed before the Department of Justice against Filipina Karen Aizha Hamidon, who was presented at a news conference by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
She was arrested on Oct. 11 and was said to have been married to Mohammad Jaafar Maguid of the small but violent Islamic group Ansar Khalifa Philippines who was killed in January in a clash with police in southern Sarangani province.
“She gained international notoriety in the middle of 2016 when she successfully recruited several Indian nationals to come to the Philippines and join the radical Islamic extremist groups in Mindanao,” Aguirre said.
On the day of her arrest, she allegedly posted a message on her Telegram instant messaging app inviting Muslims to join IS-linked militants who have laid siege on southern Marawi city. Forensic examinations on her cellphone showed 296 posts of the same message promoting rebellion in Marawi, the National Bureau of Investigation said.
The NBI, an agency under the Department of Justice, said Hamidon was also the ex-wife of a Singaporean, Muhammad Shamin Mohammed Sidek, detained there for alleged ties to the IS group. The agency also said she is being investigated in other countries for possible links to international terrorist financing.