Malaysian Police Announce Capture of 7 Suspects, Including 4 Yemenis

Fadzil Aziz
2017.03.06
Kuala Lumpur
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170306-MY-detainees-620.jpg Malaysian police blurred the faces of officers and Yemeni suspects detained by Malaysian police during a raid at Serdang, Feb. 26, 2017.
Courtesy of Malaysia Police

Malaysian authorities said they stopped a car-bomb plot, broke up a counterfeit passport ring and confiscated thousands of dollars while arresting seven men, including four from Yemen, in February raids.

Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar revealed that authorities had arrested a 41-year-old Malaysian factory technician and a 28-year-old Indonesian farmer on Feb. 21 before they could launch an alleged terror act.

“Through investigation, we have found that the two men received orders from Muhammad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi to launch a large-scale vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack in the country before making their way to Syria to join the Islamic State (IS),” Khalid said Sunday.

Police have identified Wanndy as an IS fighter based in Syria who allegedly orchestrated a grenade attack that injured eight patrons at a Kuala Lumpur area nightclub last year.

The Indonesian man, Khalid said, had been deported from Turkey on June 2016 after attempting to enter Syria illegally.

Police also arrested a 37-year-old student on Feb. 23 who was using a fake student visa and was enrolled in a public university in the city, Khalid said.

“The suspect is a member of a terrorist group from East Asia and has made Malaysia a transit point and hideout,” Khalid said, adding the student entered the country in 2011.

The suspect has ties with another East Asian terrorist suspect, who is responsible for arranging a safe route for the group’s members to join IS in Syria, according to Khalid.

Yemeni suspects

The Yemenis were detained in two areas – Serdang and Cyberjaya, in the state of Selangor on Feb. 26, according to Khalid.

Police believed that the four were part of a rebel faction in Yemen, Khalid said, but he did not comment on whether they had potential links to IS.

“In our initial investigation, they were involved in a syndicate specializing in falsifying travel documents,” Khalid said.

During the raid, police seized bogus international passports and 270,000 ringgit (U.S. $60,600) in foreign currency.

Ahmad El-Muhammady Ahmad, an analyst with the International Islamic University Malaysia, told BenarNews on Monday that preliminary information linked the Yemeni men to Wanndy and Katibah Nusantara (KN). Ahmad helps Malaysian authorities run de-radicalization programs.

KN, the Malay Archipelago unit of IS, groups fighters from the Malay-speaking region of Malaysia and Indonesia along with the Southern Philippines.

While Khalid did not name the suspects, he said all are being held under the Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act 2012 and Immigration Act.

Since 2013, authorities in Malaysia arrested 278 people with suspected IS links, of whom 66 have since been freed, according to the latest figures from the government.

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