Malaysia identifies 16 'traitors' aiding Marawi militants in the Philippines

Black smoke billowing from a burning house after an an aerial strike by Philippine airforce attack helicopters targeting Islamist militants in Marawi, on July 22, 2017.
Black smoke billowing from a burning house after an an aerial strike by Philippine airforce attack helicopters targeting Islamist militants in Marawi, on July 22, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia said on Wednesday (Aug 2) it has identified 16 Malaysians who allegedly fed information and conspired with militants in the southern Philippine city of Marawi.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Shahidan Kassim said he had already received the names and photographs of the 16 people.

He added that the 16 are being hunted down.

"We also need to ensure the local traitors are dealt with. I have the names and pictures of the people, we believe they are cooperating with those criminals," he said in Parliament on Wednesday.

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

Mr Shahidan was responding to a question regarding the security status of the area in Sabah bordering the Philippines amid the fighting in Marawi.

Filipino military forces have been battling militants linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Marawi City since May, resulting in hundreds of thousands being displaced.

Asked if it was possible that those displaced would try to make their way into Malaysia through Sabah, Mr Shahidan said it was a very long journey, but did not rule out the possibility.

"Of course, we are considering the possibility that they will try to make the journey, and the necessary action will be taken if they do so," he said.