Woman who allegedly recruited Marawi fighters via social media faces raps

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 02 2017 07:47 PM | Updated as of Nov 02 2017 09:00 PM

MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) will begin its hearings into a criminal complaint against a woman allegedly engaged in the recruitment, through social media, of foreign fighters to augment Maute fighters in the Marawi City siege.

Karen Aizha Hamidon, 36 years old, is facing 14 counts of violation of Article 138 (inciting a rebellion or insurrection) of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to Republic Act (RA) No. 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

She was arrested by operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation-Counter Terrorism Division at her residence in Taguig City on October 11, the same day she posted on social media another call for local and foreign Muslims to help Maute fighters in Marawi City.

Hamidon is reportedly the wife of Mohammad Jaafar Maguid aka “Tokboy” and “Abu Sharifa,” who formerly led the group allegedly responsible for the September 2016 night market blast in Davao City, which calls itself Ansarul Khalifa Philippines (AKP), also known as the “MaguidGroup.” Maguid was killed in January 2017 by government forces in Sarangani province.

The Philippine government has named AKP as one of “four ISIS-linked local rebel groups,” with operations in “different parts of Mindanao,” along with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) from Basilan; Maute Group from Lanao del Sur; and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) based in the Liguasan Marsh, Maguindanao.

“These groups have formed an alliance for the purpose of establishing a wilayah, or Islamic province, in Mindanao,” the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) told the Supreme Court (SC) in June, during the pendency of petitions challenging President Duterte’s declaration of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.

Hamidon is also being linked to Australian Islamist preacher Musa Cerantonio, and reportedly also former wife to Singaporean national Muhammad Shamin Mohammed Sidek, who was detained for his links with ISIS.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will begin its hearings into a criminal complaint against a woman allegedly engaged in the recruitment, through social media, of foreign fighters to augment Maute fighters in the Marawi City siege.