Arrest of alleged Pinay ISIS recruiter shows need for vigilance – Palace

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Image from News5 video shows Karen Aizha Hamidon at her presentation by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang said Thursday, October 19, that the arrest of Karen Aizha Hamidon, who authorities accuse of seeking recruits for ISIS, “underscores that we cannot let our guard down in the fight against terrorism as some remnants of the forces of evil are still at large.”

Hamidon, 36, was arrested in Taguig City a week ago but she was presented to media by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Wednesday.

She has been charged with 14 counts of inciting to rebellion or insurrection and violation of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 for allegedly using social media and messaging apps to call on foreigners to join extremist gunmen who battled government forces in Marawi City.

WATCH | Pinay allegedly linked to pro-ISIS personalities arrested for ‘urging’ foreigners to join Marawi siege

After nearly five months, President Rodrigo Duterte declared the Islamic city liberated this week and military officials said he battle of Marawi was finally winding down following the deaths of extremist leaders Isnilon Hapilon, the Abu Sayyaf commander said to have been designated ISIS’s leader in Southeast Asia, and Omar Maute.

But presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said although the two extremist leaders have been killed, they have followers who are still on the loose.

Hamidon, a Muslim convert, was married to Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, alias Tokboy, who led the pro-ISIS Ansar Al-Khilafa and is said to have led the deadly bombing of Davao City in September last year. Maguid was killed in a gunfight with police in Sarangani January 5 this year.

She also allegedly became the wife of Singaporean security guard Muhammad Shamin Mohamed Sidek, who was detained in 2015 after making pro-ISIS Facebook posts inciting readers to religious violence. Hamidon is also said to be close to Musa Cerantino, an Australian jihadi extremist and ISIS supporter.