8 militants nabbed in anti-terror swoops in Malaysia

8 militants nabbed in anti-terror swoops in Malaysia
PHOTO: Special Branch's Counter Terrorism Division

KUALA LUMPUR - Eight suspected militants were detained in anti-terror swoops conducted in Putrajaya and Sabah, says Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun.

The Inspector-General of Police said the suspects - seven Filipino nationals and a Malaysian - were arrested by the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division between Oct 30 and Nov 12.

"We made the first arrest on a 38-year-old Malaysian man in Putrajaya, suspected of channelling funds to Malaysian Islamic State militant Akel Zainal, who is in Syria.

"We believe he channelled the funds to Akel in 2017," he said in a statement on Friday (Nov 16).

The second string of arrests occurred in Tenom, Sabah, involving three Filipino nationals, aged between 27 and 51.

"They are members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), who were responsible for kidnapping-for-ransom in southern Philippines and Sabah.

"One of the suspects, aged 34, has the skills to construct weapons for the ASG," the IGP said.

The next series of arrests were in Ranau, where two Filipino nationals, aged 35 and 46, were detained.

"They were working as a technician and a labourer. The duo's specific task were recruiting children to join the ASG, as well as to use them as human shields, if the ASG encountered the Philippines' army in Basilan," he said.

The country's top cop said the duo were also the ASG's executioners, tasked with beheading hostages.

"They were planning to escape to southern Philippines but we managed to intercept them," he said.

The next arrest was on a 30-year-old Filipino national in Kinarut, Sabah on Nov 10.

"He is one of the ASG commanders and the right-hand man of ASG senior leader Furuji Indama," Mohamad Fuzi said.

The last arrest on Nov 12 was on a 60-year-old Filipino national, who works as a "pasar malam" trader.

"He is believed to have harboured a known wanted militant on Nov 8," he said.

All the suspects were detained under Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

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