Manila - Women will be at the forefront of the Abu Sayyaf's next bombing campaign in Metro Manila and other key cities. The campaign, which will be "launched" with a bomb attack in mid-October, is backed by the Jemaah Islamiah, according to a three-page Philippine police intelligence report. It was issued to police units in the country before the Oct 1 Bali bombings.
The Abu Sayyaf "will utilise women muhahideens (sic) in the conduct" of bomb attacks, said the report sent from Camp Crame to local police units. Mujahideen are Muslim guerrilla warriors engaged in a jihad or holy war.
The report identified targets as Metro Manila and the Mindanao cities of Zamboanga, Pagadian, Kidapawan and Koronadal. It did not specify how the women would be used in the attacks. However, the report did say that an Abu Sayyaf leader, Jaimah Sali, had sent his lover, Hannah Daud, to spy on and identify targets in Metro Manila.
Sali was believed to have given his mistress the task of conducting "casing operations in Metro Manila", the report said. Possible targets included commercial areas, embassies, seaports, airports, parks and malls.
The report said six Abu Sayyaf members are believed to be already in Zamboanga City and waiting for the arrival of two boxes of explosives. The group is expected to be joined by 15 more Abu Sayyaf members now based in Sulu.
According to the report, a bomb attack on or before Fiesta Pilar on Oct 12 will launch the series of bombings. The Zamboanga City Cathedral was identified in the report as a target.
Two Abu Sayyaf men have reportedly linked up with Moro Islamic Liberation Front Commander Akidin Abdulsalama to coordinate the attacks. "All the teams will make use of women warriors in the operations," the report said.
* Abu Sayyaf to use women in bomb attacks, say police (Philippine Daily Inquirer)