Home-made bombs seized after arrest of three suspects

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's police chief yesterday said five improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have been seized following last week's arrest of three men in Kelantan who were plotting to attack a beer festival in Kuala Lumpur.

National police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the suspects arrested were a 19-year-old student, a 35-year-old former army personnel and a 25-year-old contract worker. They are believed to be followers of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group.

According to the police, the three planned to use the IEDs against various targets in the country.

"The suspects had successfully detonated one of the bombs on Sept 28 in a clearing behind one of the suspect's house, but another failed. We seized three other fully-assembled IEDs," Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi said.

"We believe each IED has a blast radius of 30m and is able to cause maximum damage," he told a press conference. "If they had managed to carry out their plans, it would have been devastating, with many casualties," he said.

Other items seized included PVC pipes and instructions on how to make the IEDs. "We are investigating where they got the expertise to make such bombs. We are not ruling out the possibility that they learnt it from other militants," the police chief added.

The suspects had planned to target entertainment outlets and non-Muslim houses of worship in greater Kuala Lumpur as well as the Better Beer Festival, said Mr Fuzi. The festival, originally planned for Oct 6, was cancelled after protests from religious groups.

Mr Fuzi said initial investigations revealed the student and the former soldier to be the brains behind the operation. The 25-year-old had connections with known militants Akel Zainal and the now-deceased Muhammad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi.

"The arrests prove that the threat to the beer festival was real. We do not simply advise against organising any event unless the threat is real," he added.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2017, with the headline 'Home-made bombs seized after arrest of three suspects'. Print Edition | Subscribe