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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine forces have arrested 9 ladies who had been associated to Abu Sayyaf commanders and militants within the south and will have been “potential suicide bombers,” the navy mentioned Tuesday.

The ladies had been captured Friday in raids on homes in three cities within the predominantly Muslim province of Sulu, mentioned Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., who heads the navy’s Western Mindanao Command.

The southern province is the stronghold of Abu Sayyaf, which is thought for ransom kidnappings, beheadings and bombings.

Troops additionally seized bomb elements, together with batteries, detonating cords, suspected explosive powder and oil, an iron pipe and nails, together with a grenade, cellphones, backpacks and a sketch of a suspected focused bombing space, the navy mentioned in a press release.

“We are always ready to welcome those who wish to return to the folds of the law but if you will refuse to do so, we will surely hunt you down and prevent you from inflicting havoc in the communities,” mentioned Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, who heads authorities forces in Sulu.

“May this serve as a clear message to the supporters and remaining members of the Abu Sayyaf,” Gonzales mentioned.

The suspects would face legal expenses for unlawful possession of explosives, navy officers mentioned, including that intelligence and surveillance helped troops observe down the suspects. It was not instantly potential to succeed in the arrested suspects to get their feedback.

Among these arrested had been three daughters and a sister of Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, the Abu Sayyaf chief who was wounded in a gunbattle with troops in July final 12 months and died a number of days later within the mountainous hinterlands off Sulu’s Patikul city.

A couple of weeks after Sawadjaan’s demise, two widows of Abu Sayyaf militants individually detonated bombs in suicide assaults that killed 14 individuals, together with troopers, and wounded 75 others in Jolo city in Sulu. The navy mentioned then that the bombings, the worst extremist assaults within the nation final 12 months, might have been staged by the Abu Sayyaf to avenge the demise of Sawadjaan, who was believed to have been designated by the Islamic State group as its chief within the southern Philippines.

The United States and the Philippines have individually blacklisted the Abu Sayyaf, which has been significantly weakened by years of battle setbacks, navy offensives and surrenders however stays a nationwide safety menace.

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