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Philippine army arrests wife of top Islamist militant in south

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Philippine army arrests wife of top Islamist militant in south

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MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine soldiers arrested the wife of a top leader of a pro-Islamic State militant group, and killed a suspected bomber in separate raids in a southern city, the army said on Monday.

Nafisa Pundog, who had been in hiding for two years since her escape from prison, was arrested in General Santos City, said army spokesman Major Ezra Balagtey.

Her husband Human Abdul Najib, alias Abu Dar, is the new leader of the pro-Islamic State Maute group, which seized the lakeside town of Marawi for five months last year, he added.

"She did not resist arrest," Balagtey told reporters, adding that materials to make improvised bombs were seized from her hideout.

Before the arrest, soldiers killed Najib Pundog, a suspected bomb maker, not far from the hideout. "He chose to shoot it out with soldiers who tracked him down in his safe house," Balagtey said.

Both individuals, who are not related, despite a shared surname, were on a list of those President Rodrigo Duterte ordered to be arrested when he imposed martial law on the southern island of Mindanao after the Marawi attack in May 2017.

More than 1,100 people died in the five-month conflict in Marawi, which ended days after soldiers killed the militant leaders, Omarkhayam Maute and Isnilon Hapilon, the emir of the Southeast Asian militant group.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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