KOTA KINABALU: A Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) personnel was among three Malaysians arrested by police in Sandakan yesterday for suspected involvement in militant activities.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Mohd Zinin said the three, aged between 29 and 31 years, were nabbed in a special operation by the Counter-Terrorism Division, Bukit Aman police Special Branch.
“One of them is a senior member of a militant cell suspected of conducting military training since April 22, at a camp run by the Abu Sayyaf Group in southern Philippines.
“The suspect had illegally entered Malaysia on June 11 and was hiding in a house in Sandakan,” he said in statement yesterday.
Mohd Bakri said one of the other two suspects was an RMN personnel stationed in Sandakan. He was suspected of having helped the militant group member to secretly enter Malaysia and harbouring him.
The three are being detained for investigation under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.
Since April 28 this year, 12 people have been arrested for suspected involvement with militant groups in Syria and southern Philippines.
One of them is a foreigner from East Africa who was arrested in Selangor on May 8.
Abu Sayyaf is a self-styled Islamic militant group which was set up in the 1990s with seed money from the late Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network, and has been blamed for the worst terror attacks in the Philippines’ history, including bombings.
Its militants have defied US-backed military campaigns against it by melding into and drawing support from Muslim communities in the southern Philippines who feel they have been persecuted for centuries by Christian rulers in Manila.
The new arrests come weeks after Malaysian police foiled a plot to attack foreign missions in two Indian cities and arrested a South Asian terror suspect.
Police are also investigating whether Al-Qaeda-linked Somali rebels were seeking to set up a base in Malaysia after a suspected insurgent was arrested.
Malaysia has not seen any notable terror attacks in recent memory, but it has been home to several suspected key figures in militant Islamic groups, such as the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah blamed for the deadly 2002 Bali bombing.