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Sunday, May 19, 2024

ISIS terror fund facilitator nabbed in Sulu—PNP

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Police have arrested an alleged female financier of Al-Qaeda and supporter of an Islamic State terror group in Indanan, Sulu on Thursday.Criminal Investigation and Detection Group director Maj. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr. said the suspect, 32-year-old Myrna Ajijul Mabanza, was nabbed in an operation in Barangay Pasil, Indanan, Sulu shortly before 6 a.m. She was declared by the United States Defense Department as a specially designated global terrorist along with the ISIS founder Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and the late Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader and ISIS emir in the Philippines Isnilon Hapilon.He said Mabanza is wanted for charges of terror financing under Republic Act No. 10168 (Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012) and RA No. 11479 (Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020) issued by a Zamboanga court in December 2023.She is the widow of a Malaysian terrorist who was believed to have influenced her into engaging in terrorism, Caramat said.Caramat said Mabanza facilitated the transfer of funds from international financiers to local terrorist leaders including Hapilon since 2016.These include the transfer of funds worth $107,000 to Hapilon in January 2016.“In February 2016, Mabanza served as an intermediary between Hapilon and ISIS elements in Syria while in March 2016, Mabanza coordinated another transfer of funds with Hapilon. Also in March 2016, a senior ISIS official in Syria planned to send financial support to ISIS-(Philippines) through Mabanza,” he added.In April 2016, she also helped facilitate the travel of a representative of Indonesian terrorist group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) from Indonesia to the Philippines for a meeting with Hapilon.The JAD representative traveled to the Philippines to purchase arms for ISIS-aligned forces in Indonesia and to set up training courses for pro-ISIS recruits from Indonesia with ISIS-Philippines.”It will surely paralyze the operation of Islamic State or ISIS, the ISIS’ plan to establish itself in the country, and of course in other countries because other governments are also running after financing of terrorism,” Caramat said.Philippine National Police chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said the arrest of Mabanza was a big blow to the terrorist group.“With regards to the effects on the operations, most likely with the arrest of Myrna, their cash flow would be affected, definitely their operations will be affected,” Acorda said.

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