MANILA - Authorities said Friday they arrested a bazaar shopkeeper with alleged ties to the Maute group, a band of Islamic State-inspired extremists that occupied Marawi City for 5 months.
The suspect, 42-year-old Rasdy Malawani, is the brother-in-law of the Maute brothers who led the siege in Marawi City, said Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, Quezon City police director.
Malawani allegedly collected money from stall owners in a Novaliches area mall and remitted them to the wife of Madie Maute, a brother of the extremist leaders, police said, citing intelligence reports.
He remitted about P270,000 to P300,000 a month to Madie's wife, Eleazar said.
An unlicensed .45 pistol, a rocket-propelled grenade and bank transaction receipts were seized during a raid on Malawani's Quezon City home, Eleazar said.
Malawani was arrested for illegal possession of firearms, said Director Oscar Albayalde, National Capital Region Police chief.
Eleazar said Malawani hosted Maute members in his house, including Jerry Maute, and Tura Marohom Maute who trained on bomb-making abroad.
Malawani's arrest could "cripple" the finances of the Maute group as stall rentals at the Salaam Bazaar was a "significant source" of revenue for the Maute brothers' mother, Farhana, Eleazar said.
Stall owners in the bazaar will be investigated, Eleazar added.
The government last week declared the "liberation" of Marawi City, where nearly 5 months of fighting left 920 militants, 165 soldiers and 45 civilians killed.