Kuala Lumpur nabs six suspected militants in raids

Mohamed Kazali Salleh funded Malaysian militant Akel Zainal (above), who fought for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Singaporean businessman Mohamed Kazali Salleh was arrested by the Malaysian police in Johor Baru for his involvement in terrorism
Mohamed Kazali Salleh funded Malaysian militant Akel Zainal (above), who fought for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/PEJUANG MUDA MASAKINI
Mohamed Kazali Salleh funded Malaysian militant Akel Zainal (above), who fought for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Singaporean businessman Mohamed Kazali Salleh was arrested by the Malaysian police in Johor Baru for his involvement in terrorism
Singaporean businessman Mohamed Kazali Salleh was arrested by the Malaysian police in Johor Baru for his involvement in terrorism-related activities.PHOTO: ROYAL MALAYSIAN POLICE SPECIAL BRANCH'S COUNTER TERRORISM DIVISION

Six suspected militants, including a Singaporean businessman, have been arrested by the Malaysian police following a series of anti-terror raids across the country.

The men, aged 21 to 48, were nabbed in Johor, Selangor and Sabah between Dec 19 last year and Jan 28.

In the first swoop, a 48-year-old Singaporean was arrested in Johor Baru on Dec 19 with the help of Singapore's Internal Security Department. The Singapore authorities named him as Mohamed Kazali Salleh.

He funded a Malaysian militant of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Wan Mohd Aquil Wan Zainal Abidin, also known as Akel Zainal, and had been told to recruit militants for an attack in Johor Baru.

Also on Dec 19, a Bangladeshi cleaner, 31, was arrested in Selangor's Klang. He is believed to be an ISIS supporter and tasked with recruiting militants for the group.

The police detained two Malaysians, both 38, in Sepang on Jan 10.

Prior to their arrest, the duo - who worked as farm workers abroad - had been deported to Malaysia after the country they were in found that they had pledged their allegiance to ISIS.

 

"One of them even channelled funds to Malaysian militant Khairul Amizan Azmi, who is in Syria," Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said in a statement yesterday.

The police also nabbed a 21-year-old Filipino man on Jan 19 in Sabah. The authorities believe he is a member of the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the Philippines.

"The suspect was arrested in Kota Kinabalu and had snuck into the country in March last year. He has the expertise to operate an array of weapons, and he has connections to Abu Sayyaf leader Furiji Indama," Tan Sri Fuzi said.

The Abu Sayyaf has pledged allegiance to ISIS. Since 2017, the Malaysian authorities have detained 39 Abu Sayyaf militants.

The last man arrested was a 26-year-old South Asian. He was caught in Puchong on Jan 28 for harbouring a fellow countryman who is listed on Interpol's Red Notice for his involvement in terrorist activities.

Since 2013, Malaysia has arrested more than 400 people for suspected links to terrorism. The Muslim-majority country faces threats from self-radicalised ISIS sympathisers at home and regional militant groups that seek funding and refuge in South-east Asia.

Malaysia was hit by a terrorist attack in June 2016, when two men on a motorcycle lobbed a grenade into a nightclub in Selangor, injuring eight people. The attackers were sentenced to 25 years in jail.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2019, with the headline 'KL nabs six suspected militants in raids'. Print Edition | Subscribe