Malaysia detains four suspected to have ISIS links

Footage of counter-terrorism officers arresting suspects in Sandakan, Sabah, on Thursday went viral on social media.
Footage of counter-terrorism officers arresting suspects in Sandakan, Sabah, on Thursday went viral on social media.PHOTO: YOUTUBE

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian police have detained four men suspected of being militants involved in the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, said the country's police chief yesterday.

One of the suspects, an Indonesian man, was arrested on Monday in Slim River, Perak, with documents relating to ISIS. Police said they had thwarted a terror attack against the force with his arrest.

"On June 12, we caught an Indonesian... for his involvement in Daesh, and he also planned to attack the police," said the Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar, as reported by news site Malay Mail Online. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

The other three suspects - a Malaysian and two Indonesians aged between 30 and 48 - were arrested in Sandakan, Sabah, on Thursday by the counter-terrorism division.

"We believe the trio were trying to gain safe passage to Marawi city in southern Philippines," said Tan Sri Khalid, according to English daily The Star.

Islamist militants occupied Marawi four weeks ago and continue to resist the Philippine military, which is trying to regain control of the city.

It has been reported that Islamist militants from countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia have been fighting alongside their Philippine counterparts in the battle for Marawi.

The suspects in Sabah were in possession of ISIS-related documents and "three newly bought 'Rambo' knives", Mr Khalid said.

He said that the police are still looking for other suspects connected to ISIS.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2017, with the headline 'Malaysia detains four suspected to have ISIS links'. Print Edition | Subscribe