Philippine authorities arrest slain terrorist's Indonesian wife

They found components of an improvised explosive device in the house she was staying in
Philippine authorities arrest slain terrorist's Indonesian wife

The passport of Minhati Midrais, Indonesian wife of terrorist leader Omar Khayyam Maute, who was arrested in Iligan City on Nov. 5. (Photo by Divina Suson)

Philippine authorities arrested on Nov. 5 the Indonesian wife of Omar Khayyam Maute, slain leader of the Islamic State-inspired gunmen who occupied the city of Marawi for close to five months.

The Indonesian national was identified as 36-year-old Minhati Madrais, also known as "Baby," whose named was included in a list of wanted persons by the Department of National Defense.

She was arrested in Iligan a city in the northern Mindanao region. Her six young children have been taken into custody.

Authorities recovered from Madrais' house components of an improvised explosive device, including four blasting caps, two detonating cords, and a time fuse.

The arrest of Madrais, a teacher who arrived in the Philippines in 2012, came two days after Australia warned its citizens on Nov. 3, about a "high threat" of a terror attack in the Philippines.

"There is a high threat of terrorist attack in the Philippines, including Manila. Exercise heightened caution at this time," Australia said in its latest travel advisory.

The advisory said the "deterioration in security in Mindanao has resulted in a more volatile security environment in the Philippines."

"Be alert to possible threats around locations that have a low level of protective security and places known to be possible terrorist targets," added the advisory.

It warned against travel to Mindanao "due to the very high levels of violent crime and the high threat of terrorist attack and kidnapping."

Philippine government spokesman Harry Roque, however, said Australia's warning was not a response to any specific threat.

"The Philippine government has no information about any increased terror threat in the county," said Roque in a statement on Nov. 4.

Australia issued the advisory a week before world leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Manila for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.

In the last week of October, President Rodrigo Duterte warned that despite the end of the fighting in Marawi it "is not far-fetched" that terrorists will resort to "retaliation and vengeance."

In the weekend, sporadic clashes between government forces and remnants of the terrorist gunmen continued in Marawi.

Col. Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of the Philippine military's Joint Task Force Ranao, said the stragglers include wives and children of terrorist fighters.

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The military official said the clearing operation is not going to be easy, adding that he expects resistance from the stragglers.

Defense department spokesman Arsenio Andolong said they have no exact figures as to the stragglers in Marawi.

"The physical clearing of structures and search for possible stragglers is still ongoing in certain areas in and around Marawi," he said.

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