Six detained in St Petersburg for suspected ISIS recruitment

Russian police officers patrolling the Red Square in Moscow on April 4, 2017. Security measures were tightened in Moscow's metro after a blast in St Petersburg on April 3.
Russian police officers patrolling the Red Square in Moscow on April 4, 2017. Security measures were tightened in Moscow's metro after a blast in St Petersburg on April 3. PHOTO: EPA

MOSCOW (REUTERS) Six people have been detained in St Petersburg on suspicion of recruiting for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and aiding terrorist activity, Russian investigators said yesterday.

There is no evidence the detainees, who are citizens of Central Asian countries, are in any way linked to Monday's bomb attack on a St Petersburg metro train, Russia's state investigative committee said in a statement.

The detainees are suspected of being active since November 2015 in recruiting other Central Asian immigrants for "terrorist activity", and for ISIS and another banned Islamist movement, Fateh al-Sham, previously known as the Nusra Front.

Extremist Islamist literature was found during a search of the detainees' living quarters, the statement added. The authorities had not yet decided whether to press charges against the detainees, the statement said, according to Radio Free Europe website.

Advocates for migrants in Russia have warned foreign workers in St Petersburg to lie low as increased police document checks stoke fears of a wider crackdown. The identification of Kyrgyz-born Akbarzhon Jalilov as the bombing suspect stoked fears of police action targeting migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus.

The investigative committee said the six Central Asian citizens were detained as part of a joint operation by investigators, the Federal Security Service, the Interior Ministry and the National Guard.

 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2017, with the headline 'Six detained in St Petersburg for suspected ISIS recruitment'. Print Edition | Subscribe