SIX men have been arrested across several states of Malaysia for suspected links to terror group, Islamic State. The arrests took place between May 23 to 26, according to a police press release issued Saturday.
Channel News Asia reports that the arrests occurred across four states and included the arrest of a pair of brothers – a religious teacher in Perak and an online businessman in Kedah – for supporting IS activities and movements in Syria and for their links to known militant Muhammad Fudhail Omar.
“Both brothers are relatives of known militant Muhammad Fudhail Omar,” Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar told the Star.
“Fudhail, who is in Syria, once ordered for a lone wolf attack in Sandakan in August last year,” he said, adding that the suspects were detained on May 25 and 26.
Khalid went on, “We believe Fudhail is likely to replace Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi, as the top Malaysian militant”. Wanndy, a Malaysian, was killed while fighting with IS in Syria.
Police also arrested a cow herder in Kelantan, Muhammad Muzafa Arieff Junaidi, who surrendered after police issued a notice asking the public for information, believing the suspect had fled to Southern Thailand after being involved in smuggling firearms for use by the militant group in Malaysia.
Also arrested was a retired soldier in Kedah, who is accused of being responsible for channelling about RM20,000 (US$4,700) to IS in Syria via multiple transactions. According to police, the suspects son has already moved to Syria to fight for the terror cell.
The final two suspects include a quality control officer in Selangor and an unemployed man in Kedah.
News of the arrests come just days after reports surfaced of Malaysian citizens being amongst the militant fighters currently laying siege to the city of Marawi in Mindanao, Philippines.
Philippine officials have claimed that Malaysian fighters were among several Islamist militants killed by troops in the city last week.
Malaysia has arrested more than 250 people between 2013 and 2016 for suspected militant activity linked to Islamic State.