World

Troops arrest Marawi militants' female financier

MANILA Philippine security forces yesterday arrested the main financier and logistics supporter of the pro-Islamic State in Iraq and Syria militants, who have for weeks been battling government troops for control of a southern town, the army said.

Security forces raided a village not far from Marawi and detained three suspects found with ammunition and material for making bombs, an army spokesman, Brigadier-General Gilbert Gapay, said.

One of those detained was an important supporter of the Maute group who was identified as Monaliza Romato, alias Monay. The woman is a niece of the matriarch of the Maute clan, whose menfolk led the Marawi attack.

Two of seven Maute brothers, Omar and Abdullah, were educated in the Middle East and were the main planners of the assault, the military has said.

"Monay has replaced her aunt as the main financier and logistic supporter of the militant group," said the general in a statement.

"The arrest will adversely affect the logistics support network of the group."

The raid, seizure of weapons and arrests would also prevent the militants from mounting diversionary attacks, he said.

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the military last week sent an aircraft to the United States to stock up on bombs and rockets, supplies of which were running out.

US forces are providing Philippine troops with technical assistance for the battle, while Australia has sent two surveillance planes.

In another part of Mindanao, soldiers found the beheaded bodies of two Vietnamese sailors abducted a year ago by the Abu Sayyaf group. - REUTERS

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