Terror attacks

Suicide bombers in KL and Sabah: Leaked police memo

Police keeping track of all possible threats and increasing their patrols and intelligence surveillance

The memo reportedly said that the Abu Sayyaf and ISIS militant groups had 10 suicide bombers in KL and eight in Sabah. PHOTO: AFP

Malaysian police yesterday confirmed that a leaked internal police communique indicating the presence of suicide bombers in Kuala Lumpur and Sabah was authentic.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed this to online news portal Malaysiakini, saying the police memo was genuine and expressed regret over the leak.

The memo reportedly said that Philippine militant group Abu Sayyaf and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had 10 suicide bombers in Kuala Lumpur and eight in Sabah. The note instructed police to increase patrols and intelligence surveillance.

Tan Sri Khalid said the police were keeping track of all possible threats and were taking measures to neutralise them.

"We will not allow such things (suicide bombings) to happen," Malaysiakini quoted him as saying.

According to the report, the circular, dated Nov 16, originated from the Sabah police headquarters and was based on intelligence information gleaned from a "meeting and planning" between three terrorist organisations, namely the Abu Sayyaf, ISIS and the Moro National Liberation Front.

The meeting in Sulu in the southern Philippines, which is said to have taken place on Sunday, was attended by 14 leaders from the three organisations and 50 members of Abu Sayyaf, who were armed with M16 rifles, pistols and bombs.

The leaders reached several resolutions during that meeting, including agreeing to recruit new members and deploying Abu Sayyaf and ISIS assets to Kuala Lumpur and Sabah, the circular stated.

"These suicide bombers underwent military training in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as prepared (sic) to receive orders from their leaders to launch attacks or bombings," the circular reportedly said, according to Malaysiakini.

Criminologist P. Sundramoorthy told The Straits Times that Malaysian police and other law enforcement agencies and intelligence services here have an excellent track record of neutralising threats from radical and extremist groups.

"The confirmation by the IGP (Inspector-General of Police) clearly demonstrates the fact that the Malaysian authorities are on track," Dr Sundramoorthy said.

He added that the public should not be unduly worried but, at the same time, should not take safety for granted.

On Tuesday, Abu Sayyaf militants reportedly beheaded Malaysian engineer Bernard Then Ted Fen, whom they had kidnapped along with restaurant owner Thien Nyuk Fun at a seafood restaurant in Sandakan, in Sabah, earlier this year.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak strongly condemned the act and urged the authorities to take action against the culprits and bring them to justice.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2015, with the headline Suicide bombers in KL and Sabah: Leaked police memo. Subscribe