Pinoy among 6 arrested in Malaysia for militant links

Reuters

Posted at Feb 15 2019 03:36 PM

MANILA- An alleged Abu Sayyaf bandit was among 6 people arrested in Malaysia on suspicion of planning attacks, its police said Friday.

The 21-year-old Filipino terrorist was detained by police following a raid in the eastern state of Sabah, where he worked as a laborer. 

He is believed to have ties with Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama, Police Inspector General Fuzi Harun said in a statement.

Malaysian police said the 6 were arrested in 5 separate raids between December and January, on suspicion of planning attacks or having links to militant groups.

Malaysia has been on high alert since gunmen allied with Islamic State (IS) carried out a series of attacks in Jakarta, the capital of neighbouring Indonesia, in January 2016.

"They include two Malaysians and four foreigners from Singapore, Bangladesh, the Philippines and a South Asian country," Fuzi said.

The group included a 48-year-old Singaporean accused of planning to attack a building used by Freemasons in the state of Johor. He is believed to have links with Akel Zainal, a Malaysian identified as an IS fighter in Syria, police said.

A 28-year-old man from an unidentified South Asian country was arrested during a raid in Selangor state. Interpol had issued a warrant, known as a red notice, for his suspected involvement in criminal and militant activities, Fuzi said.

Malaysia has arrested hundreds of people over the past few years for suspected links to militant groups.

A grenade attack on a bar on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, in June 2016 wounded eight people. 

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, the first such strike on Malaysian soil.