Asia

3 arrested over suspected terror links in Malaysia

3 arrested over suspected terror links in Malaysia
Malaysia's new Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun. Malay Mail Online file photo.
One ‘tried to produce a bomb 3 times’ after being taught by the country’s most wanted terrorist
Published: 4:18 PM, September 14, 2017
Updated: 10:03 PM, September 14, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s police have arrested three people suspected of being involved in activities related to the Islamic State (IS) terror group.

This included a man who was said to have received instructions from Mahmud Ahmad, now Malaysia’s most wanted terrorist, and from a Saudi Arabian bomb-making expert on how to make a large-scale improvised explosive device (IED).

The man had also been instructed to purchase hand grenades and various weapons to be used in attacks on non-Muslims in Malaysia and their places of worship. In a statement released Thursday (Sept 14), police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the trio were arrested between Sep 8 and 10 in Perak, Selangor and Malacca.

He said the first to be picked up was the man with links to Mahmud and the Saudi Arabian bomb-making expert, adding that the 21-year-old also had links to the Al Qaeda and Abu Sayyaf terror groups.

“The jobless man was arrested on Sept 8 in Bagan Serai, Perak ... he had sworn his bai’ah (allegiance) to the Islamic State earlier this year.”

The suspect also admitted that he has been taught by Dr Mahmud and a Saudi Arabian bomb expert on how to produce an IED on a large scale.

“He has tried to produce the bomb three times,” said the police chief. “The suspect also received instruction from another senior Malaysian IS fighter in Syria on how to purchase a pistol, M-16 and AK-47 assault rifles, along with a hand grenade from a neighbouring country, and launch an attack on non-Muslims and their places of worship.”

Police also seized a number of chemical materials believed to be part of the items used to produce the IED, said Mr Fuzi.

Two days after the arrest of the man in Perak, the authorities also detained a 38-year-old chendol seller who was actively promoting the IS.

“He was arrested on Sept 10 in Malacca for producing IS flags and actively promoting the terror group. The suspect planned to join militants in the southern Philippines and Rakhine in Myanmar,” said Mr Fuzi.

The third suspect was arrested in Petaling Jaya, also on Sept 10. The 41-year-old bus driver was planning to travel to Syria at the end of the year to join the IS there.

All three were detained under Malaysia’s Security Offences Act (Special Measures) 2012.

Under the Act, police may detain a suspect for 28 days and withhold legal representation for two days.

Since 2013, Malaysia has arrested more than 250 people on suspicion of having links to the IS.

Last month, the police thwarted a plan by a member of the IS linked to Abu Sayyaf to stage an attack during the closing ceremony of the South-east Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur. NEW STRAITS TIMES