Malaysia has been on high alert since Jan. 2016, when men linked to ISIS carried out a series of attacks in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.
The terrorists were arrested in several raids across the country between July and September, Malaysia’s police counter-terrorism chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said in a statement.
The first case involved a 25-year-old Indonesian palm plantation worker in the state of Sabah in Borneo, who police believe had acted as a facilitator for a family of five that carried out a suicide attack on a church in Jolo, in the southern Philippines in Dec. 2018.
Ayob said the suspect had also allegedly channeled funds to the Maute group, which seized control of the lakeside town of Marawi in the Philippines for five months in 2017, a conflict that killed over 1,100 people.
Police said they also arrested 13 other Indonesians and a Malaysian in separate raids on suspicion of carrying out activities in support of ISIS, which included promoting the group’s ideology and recruiting new extremists on social media, with the aim of launching attacks in the two countries.
Police arrested one Indian national separately for joining the Sikhs For Justice group that has been outlawed in India. The suspect has since been deported, Ayob said.
Malaysia has arrested hundreds of people in the past few years for suspected terrorist links.
By Joseph Sipalan