Two army commandos among suspected militants arrested in Malaysia

Police escorting two terror suspects picked up at KLIA when they arrived after serving sentences in Lebanon.
Police escorting two terror suspects picked up at KLIA when they arrived after serving sentences in Lebanon.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR - The two civil servants who were among eight suspected militants arrested in Malaysia were army commandos based in a camp in Malacca.

Sources told The Star newspaper that the two 28-year-old army commandos were responsible for spreading the ideology of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) among fellow soldiers.

"Authorities believe the two men are actively recruiting for IS. They are also closely connected to two other commandos arrested on Aug 19 for promoting the ideology of the terror group.

"They were detained while on operation in Perak," a source was quoted as saying.

It was learnt that the soldiers wanted to go to Syria eventually, according to the report.

"Intercepted messages among the soldiers revealed that they were also eager to use their skills in battle," another source said.

The other six detained were members of the Tandzim Al-Qaeda group.

The suspects, aged between 22 and 36, were detained in simultaneous swoops in Selangor, Perak and Johor by the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division on Friday.

This brings the total number of people arrested for militancy since February 2013 to 136, including 15 from the armed forces, according to The Star.

According to sources, senior ISIS leaders in Syria have urged its members and followers to launch attacks in their respective home countries instead of heading for Syria.

"The terror group views most countries, including our own, as not a Muslim country. Instead, we are viewed as secular so they believe that attacks against the country are warranted.

"The authorities are always on guard for such an eventuality," a source said.

Among the targets of ISIS militants are government infrastructure in the Klang Valley and anything with western interest.