Police officers with one of the suspects detained in Sandakan, Sabah, on Jan 25 (Source: straitstimes.com)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Malaysian police said on February 21 that they had arrested 11 Malaysians and Filipinos for suspected link to terrorist organisations, including the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the southern Philippines.

This was the result of police operations from January 24 to February 6.

Among the suspects, 10 were arrested in Sabah State. Notably, there is a 39-year-old Filipino who has received weapon training in the southern Philippines and received order from a senior Islamic State (IS) leader in southern Philippines to bring in several militants to join the IS group in Zamboanga via Malaysia.

Another suspect was a 34-year-old Malaysian man, arrested upon deportation back to Malaysia from Singapore, where he was picked up by the Singaporean authorities for attempting to go to Syria to join the IS there.

Investigations revealed that the Abu Sayyaf group was attempting to form a terror cell in Sabah to arrange for the entry of IS militants in Southeast Asia to southern Philippines. The cell would later be used to launch attacks in Sabah.-VNA