Philippines arrests widow of slain militants

Philippine marines aboard an Amored Personnel Carrier (APC) and a truck guard a highway in Indanan town, Sulu province on the southern island of Mindanao on February 27, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 25 February 2018
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Philippines arrests widow of slain militants

MANILA: The widow of two slain militant leaders has been arrested for allegedly supporting extremist groups and possessing firearms and explosives, Philippine police said Sunday.
Juromee Dongon was married to a senior leader of the notorious Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom group, Khadaffy Janjalani. After his death in 2006 she married Malaysian bombmaker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, who was killed in 2015 in the Philippines, police said.
Authorities arrested Dongon along with her relatives in her home in Lanao del Norte province in the restive southern region of Mindanao where they found firearms, ammunition and bomb-making components, a police statement said.
“She assists, associates, networks and supports terrorist groups,” regional police spokesman Superintendent Lemuel Gonda told AFP.
“Juromee is linked with Abu Sayyaf during the time of Janjalani and then later Jemaah Islamiyah,” he added, referring to a Southeast Asian militant group.
Marwan was a leading member of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and a suspect in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people as well as in two deadly Philippine attacks.
He died in a raid in the southern Philippines that also left 44 police commandos dead. The US had offered a $5 million bounty for him.
In two operations on Sunday, police arrested Dongon as well as her two sisters and father, Gonda said, adding the family had “connections with terrorists.”
The Dongons faced charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Abu Sayyaf is an extremist militant group which was set up in the 1990s with seed money from the Al-Qaeda network, and has been blamed for the worst terror attacks in the Philippines’ history, including bombings.
The Abu Sayyaf had harbored JI militants in their bases in remote southern islands, including key suspects in the Bali bombings.
Security analysts have said widows of militant leaders played important roles in extremist groups as they enhanced the status of their second husbands.


Lion Air crash victims’ families to rally as hunt for wreckage steps up

Updated 13 December 2018
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Lion Air crash victims’ families to rally as hunt for wreckage steps up

  • Lion Air is paying for a specialized ship to help lift the main wreckage of flight JT 610 and give investigators a better chance of finding the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) in a search that has lacked sophisticated equipment for the last month
  • The enhanced search will cost $2.8 million for the first 10 days

JAKARTA: Families of some of the 189 people killed in a Lion Air plane crash plan a protest rally in Indonesia on Thursday, while stalled efforts to bring the main wreckage to the surface and find the second black box are set to resume next week.
The Boeing Co. 737 MAX jet crashed into the Java Sea on Oct. 29 shortly after take-off from Jakarta, but the families expressed concern that the remains of 64 passengers have yet to be identified, with just 30 percent of the plane’s body found.
“The relatives hope that all members of our families who died in the accident can be found and their bodies buried in a proper way,” a group that says it represents about 50 families said in a statement.
“We hope the search for the victims will use vessels with sophisticated technology,” it added, ahead of the rally planned for outside the presidential palace in Jakarta.
Lion Air is paying for a specialized ship to help lift the main wreckage of flight JT 610 and give investigators a better chance of finding the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) in a search that has lacked sophisticated equipment for the last month, Reuters reported.
Indonesia’s national transport panel said the vessel was due to arrive on Monday.
The enhanced search will cost $2.8 million for the first 10 days, a source close to the airline said on Thursday, on condition of anonymity, adding that Lion Air is paying because the government does not have the budget.
A spokesman for Lion Air was unable to respond immediately to a request for comment.
“Funds for the CVR search will be borne by Lion Air which has signed a contract for a ship from a Singaporean company,” a finance ministry spokesman told Reuters.
Lion Air’s decision to foot the bill is a rare test of global norms regarding search independence, as such costs are typically paid by governments.
In this case, investigators said they had faced bureaucratic wrangling and funding problems before Lion Air stepped in.
Safety experts say it is unusual for one of the parties to help fund an investigation, required by UN rules to be independent, so as to ensure trust in any safety recommendations made.
There are also broader concerns about resources available for such investigations worldwide, coupled with the risk of agencies being ensnared in legal disputes.
The clock is ticking in the hunt for acoustic pings coming from the L3 Technologies Inc. cockpit voice recorder fitted to the jet. It has a 90-day beacon, the manufacturer’s online brochure shows.
The flight data recorder was retrieved three days after the crash, providing insight into aircraft systems and crew inputs, although the cause has yet to be determined.