Cop held for 'sleeping with the enemy'

Superintendent Maria Cristina Nobleza
Superintendent Maria Cristina Nobleza

MANILA • A senior police officer has been arrested for allegedly attempting to aid Muslim militants fleeing from clashes on Bohol island in southern Philippines.

The arrest came as security officials reported that three Indonesians and one Malaysian were among the 37 militants killed in clashes that began last Friday.

Superintendent Maria Cristina Nobleza holds the equivalent military rank of a lieutenant- colonel. She was arrested when she tried to drive through a checkpoint in Bohol with her alleged lover Reener Lou Dongon, 25, reportedly an Abu Sayyaf bomb-maker.

They were with an elderly woman whose sons-in-law are said to have included Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, killed in 2015; Abu Sayyaf founding commander Khadaffy Janjalani, killed in 2006; Abu Solaiman, linked to a deadly ferry bombing in 2004; and Ahmad Santos, founder of the Rajah Solaiman Movement. Santos' 13-year-old son was also in the vehicle.

Police director-general Ronald de la Rosa said Nobleza, 49, was part of a special unit investigating Dongon in 2013. "Then they let love begin. That's where it started," said Mr de la Rosa, adding that Nobleza later converted to Islam. "She is sleeping with the enemy."

Meanwhile, military chief Eduardo Ano said the four militants killed in clashes in the Lanao del Sur province were former members of the Jakarta-based Jemaah Islamiah. They were taken in by the Maute group, which claims to have ties to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

On Monday, the army seized a Maute camp said to be able to accommodate at least 200 fighters. The camp also had running trenches, bunkers and bomb-making tools.

Raul Dancel

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2017, with the headline 'Cop held for 'sleeping with the enemy''. Print Edition | Subscribe