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Filipino policewoman held over links to militant incident.

Summary: Nobleza arrested after trying to evade checkpoint

Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent

Manila: A senior Philippine police official was taken into custody by authorities in Bohol recently on suspicion that she colluded with the Abu Sayyaf to rescue some of their beleaguered comrades.

Superintendent Maria Christina Nobleza of the Davao Crime Laboratory was arrested on Saturday in Clarin town, Bohol after she tried to break past a road block set up by police to prevent Abu Sayyaf gunmen being pursued by security forces from escaping.

Prior to this, about 11 members of the Abu Sayyaf on three outrigger canoes and led by Muammar Askali also known as "Abu Rami," landed on the predominantly Christian island of Bohol last April 11 on a mission to conduct kidnappings and other terror activities.

From Sulu, the group landed in the coastal town of Inabanga in Bohol. But the mission failed and the terror group lost its men including Askali and his guide, Joselito Milloria, a former villager of Inabanga who became a member of the Abu Sayyaf and converted to a radical brand of Islam.

With key members of the expedition, the remnants of the Abu Sayyaf are now on the run and had solicited the help of Nobleza.

From Davao, Nobleza travelled to Bohol ostensibly, as a tourist.

Nobleza was arrested together with her driver, a certain Renierlo Dongon.

According to police, Dongon is an expert in making bombs and is related by affinity to one of the leaders of the Abu Sayyaf and is wanted by authorities in connection with a for murder case filed against him in Cagayan de Oro.

Upon their arrest, authorities seized from Nobleza and Dongon's possession canned food items and biscuits, a pistol, medicines as well as mobile phones.

The two were apparently planning to resupply the beleaguered Abu Sayyaf men who are believed to be numbering only to less than five fighters after their colleagues died one after the other in battle with the police and military in Bohol.

National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa said it is only a matter of time before the Bohol would be totally rid of the Abu Sayyaf.

"Nobleza would be booted out of the service for sleeping with the enemy," Dela Rosa said during a press briefing on Monday.

Dela Rosa said Nobleza would be turned over to the custody of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo, Armed Forces Public Affairs chief said the military will continue to pursue the remnants of the Abu Sayyaf in Bohol.

"The hunt continues for the remaining two or three terrorists who were part of the band that attempted to establish foothold in Bohol but failed. We have reports indicating that they were also wounded and running out of supplies," Arevalo added.

The Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Eduardo A[+ or -]o at the same time warned terrorists: "The AFP has sent a very strong message, do not attempt to propagate your nefarious activities."

"You will suffer the same fatal consequences as these terrorists for attempting to bring in terror and havoc to this tranquil Province of Bohol-- or in other places in the country for that matter."

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Apr 24, 2017
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