A leading Islamist social-media propagandists and jihadist, Australian-born Musa Cerantonio, was arrested in the Philippines island of Cebu today. The arrest was announced by the Philippines police who arrested him early today along with immigration agents. He was hiding in a village in Barangay Pajac, Lapu-Lapu just outside of Cebu City. In addition to Cerantonio, police arrested Joean Montayre of Negros Occidental. Montayre was officially arrested for failing to pay a bill at the hotel she and Musa Cerantonio had been staying together. She is also a person of interest in the case against Cerantonio.
Musa Cerantonio had successfully utilized Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media outlets to recruit and serve as propagandist for the radical Islamist movement. He recently celebrated the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) take-over of Mosul and Tikrit in Iraq, sending out to his online followers, ““The black flags fly high today over Mosul and much of Iraq. Rejoice, O Muslims. Hasten to support the Ummah.”
Raised in a Catholic family in Melbourne, Australia, Cerantonio converted to Islam at age 17 and has since risen to become one of the more popular and effective proponents in the radical Islamist movement. His YouTube collection is highly praised and spread. Cerantonio was featured in a recent report on social media activism conducted by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR). The report noted his extremely loyal follower base among social network channels. One example is his now defunct Twitter account, in which 92% of his tweets spurred some sort of action, as 38.4% were re-tweeted, 53.8% listed as a favorite or similar interaction. The full report may be found on the ICSR website.
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Musa Cerantonio used a mixture of a message of personal salvation with inflammatory rhetoric against the West as well as non-Jihadist Muslims. In the following YouTube clip, he speaks of both the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US Pentagon and the more recent Boston bombings to not give scriptural-justification for the attacks, but to reproach fellow Muslims for deploring the loss of life.
Cerantonio had been spotted in Cebu City, Manila and Zamboanga where, in addition to his general calls for world-wide Jihad against the west, he purportedly helps recruits for Mindanao-based Islamist groups within the Philippines. Filipino officials state he has a good understanding of the law, and is careful to stay within a “gray area” to avoid being taken into custody or deported. It is not clear whether he is working in conjunction with one of the Philippines largest Islamist groups, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, commonly known as MILF.
When The Australian first reported the suspicion that he was in hiding in the Philippines, he mockingly replied “Have fun finding me. Ill be waiting for you or whichever dogs you send.” He also responded via his Facebook and Twitter accounts (which have since been disabled), “Come and meet us in the mountains of Sulu if you wish to find me. We will be waiting,” adding the veiled threat, “no promises that we will be gentle though.”
These threats apparently did not inspire the fear that the cowardly Cerantonio had hoped for, as a joint police task force, led by Senior Supt. Condrado Capa, PRO 7’s deputy regional director for operations, tracked and apprehended he and his female companion at around 5:30am local time. PRO 7 Police Regional Office Director Prudencio Tom Bañas indicated Cerantonio was served on a previous warrant for deportation after his passport was cancelled for being a person of interest. Authorities brought Cerantonio to Manila today to facilitate his deportation.
Jean Montayre’s Facebook page has been largely inactive since 2013, possibly as a result of her beginning involvement with Cerantonio. Montayre, 32, is being held for questioning and it is not yet known if she was actively involved in his political activities or simply involved romantically with the Australian born jihadist.
Dignitas News Service will continue to update this story as more details Australian jihadist Musa Cerantonio arrest in Lapu-Lapu, Cebu, Philippines become known.
By Dignitas News Service Team