Malaysian counter-terrorism police are reporting today that a total of 16 suspected militants, including one woman, have been rounded up by their officers, across six states in the country.
Three Malaysians, along with 12 Indonesian nationals, and one Indian, were rounded up between July 10 and September 25, in operations that spanned from Sabah and Sarawak, to Johor, to Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Pahang, and all the way north to Penang.
Officers from the Federal Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division made some of the arrests after 10 of the detainees were found to be using social media to recruit IS sympathizers and followers, as well as spreading Salafi jihadi teachings.
“One of the locals detained planned to launch attacks against politicians and non-Muslims in the country. The suspect wanted to attack non-Muslims because he believed the non-Muslims ‘disrespected’ the Muslim’s teachings and the Malay community,” said counter-terrorism Principal Assistant Director Ayob Khan at Bukit Aman, federal police headquarters, at a press conference this afternoon.
One suspect that was arrested in Sabah is believed to have been helping a network of Indonesian Islamic State militants move clandestinely to the southern Philippines via Sabah in order to launch attacks.
In the case of the Indian national, police arrested a 38-year-old woman on August 2, after she was accused of collecting funds for US-based, Punjab pro-independence organization named “Sikhs for Justice” (SFJ). The group was recently banned in India, with a dozen criminal cases against their activities. The Indian state’s Chief Minister accused the SFJ of having “unleashed a wave of terror in Punjab in recent years.”
They have since been deemed a suspected terrorist group.
“Our investigation revealed that she has collected and channeled funds to the group. She was arrested under the Immigration Act and has since been deported to her home country since she is also wanted by the Indian authorities,” said Ayob.
Hmm… Suspected terrorist sympathizer, wanted by the Indian government, but currently in Malaysia? Why does that sound so familiar?
The Indonesian suspects had been working in Malaysia as laborers before being detained.
All of those under arrest are now under investigation as per the Securities Act 2012.