Philippines arrests militant widow for trying to recruit Daesh fighters

Karen Aizha Hamidon is presented during a press conference at the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila on October 18. Authorities have arrested Hamidon who allegedly used the Internet and social media to recruit Daesh followers around the world. (AFP)
Updated 18 October 2017
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Philippines arrests militant widow for trying to recruit Daesh fighters

MANILA: Philippine law enforcement agents have arrested a woman who tried to spread radical ideas and recruit hundreds of foreigners to reinforce pro-Daesh rebels occupying a southern city, the justice minister said on Wednesday.
Karen Aizha Hamidon, the widow of a former leader of a small extremist group in Mindanao, was arrested by special agents at her home in a Manila suburb a week ago and has been charged with inciting to rebellion, Vitaliano Aguirre told a news conference.
Hamidon is accused of using social media and messaging apps to call on foreigners to join the siege by an alliance of Daesh loyalists in Marawi City, a battle that has lasted nearly five months.
The military says the conflict, the biggest security crisis in years in the Philippines, is now in its final stages and has killed more than 1,000 people, mostly rebels.
“This is a welcome development in the fight against terrorism,” Aguirre said.
Agents found she had made 296 posts in chatrooms on Telegram and WhatsApp “calling on Muslims in the Philippines, India and Singapore to come to Marawi to establish a province of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” he said.
There were also about 250 names, mostly foreigners, in her phonebook who were suspected of being Daesh sympathizers.
Dressed in a black burqa, Hamidon was paraded before the media but was not allowed to speak. Her laptop, mobile phones and electronic gadgets were being looked at by experts for forensic investigation.
Hamidon, a Muslim convert, was married to Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, alias Tokboy, the former leader of radical group Ansar Al-Khilafa. He was killed in a gunfight with police in January.
Aguirre said she was also linked to Singaporean and Australian extremists, both of whom are in detention in their countries.
But counter-terrorism expert Sidney Jones cast doubts about whether Hamidon had been effective. Jones said her presence in chatrooms of Daesh supporters was not welcomed, her credibility had been questioned and some participants blamed her for the arrests of radicals.
“Everyone hates her and thinks she’s a spy,” Jones said.


No public details on crashed Lion Air voice recorder until final report

Updated 2 min 20 sec ago
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No public details on crashed Lion Air voice recorder until final report

  • The contents of the jet’s second black box could provide a detailed account of the last actions of the pilots
  • The Oct. 29 crash, which killed all those on board, was the world’s first of a Boeing Co. 737 MAX jet and the deadliest of 2018

JAKARTA: Indonesian authorities do not plan to provide a public update on the contents of a cockpit voice recorder from a Lion Air jet that crashed, killing 189 people, until a final report is released in August or September, an official said on Tuesday.
The Oct. 29 crash, which killed all those on board, was the world’s first of a Boeing Co. 737 MAX jet and the deadliest of 2018.
The contents of the jet’s second black box, which were recovered from the Java Sea north of the capital, Jakarta, on Jan. 14, could provide a detailed account of the last actions of the pilots.
The recording needs to be filtered first due to “background sounds” hindering the transcription, said Soerjanto Tjahjono, the chief of the transportation safety committee (KNKT).
“It might take one or two weeks because it was noisy inside (the cockpit),” he told Reuters. The transcription would not be made public until KNKT’s final report is released “between August to September,” he said.
Under international rules, a final crash report is due within 12 months if that is possible.
Contact with flight JT610 was lost 13 minutes after it took off from Jakarta, heading north to the tin-mining town of Pangkal Pinang.
The preliminary report released by KNKT in November focused on airline maintenance and training, as well as the response of a Boeing anti-stall system and a recently replaced sensor, but did not give a cause for the crash.
Lion Air has faced scrutiny over its maintenance and training standards since the crash. Relatives of victims have filed at least three lawsuits against Boeing.