THE Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has requested the Royal Malaysian Police to provide “further information” regarding the identity of the five “Filipinos” arrested over their alleged link to a terror group.
PH Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya said that the Philippine Embassy has asked in particular for details regarding the nationalities of the five arrested individuals.
While various reports claim that they are Filipinos, Malaya said that the Royal Malaysia Police initially informed them that “none of the five had Philippine passports or identity documents in their possession, although three are confirmed to be permanent residents in Malaysia.”
“We trust that their names and other personal details will be shared with us shortly, particularly if they are indeed Filipinos,” Malaya told Inquirer.
The Malaysian police on Monday, March 13 said that it arrested seven individuals for their suspected links to the Islamic State (IS) militant group; five of whom are supposedly Filipinos while the remaining two are Malaysians.
According to Malaysian Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, three of the nabbed Filipinos have permanent resident (PR) statuses in Malaysia.
Khalid revealed that a 27-year-old Filipino, with a PR status, was first arrested together with another 18-year-old Filipino on Wednesday, March 8 in Kota Kinabalu.
The first Filipino is believed to have secured funds for Malaysian fugitives, Dr. Mahmud Ahmad and Mohamad Joraimee Awang Raimee. The latter Filipino is supposed to be an IS militant who has sworn allegiance to Abu Sayyaf senior leader Isnilon Hapilon.
On the following Thursday, March 9, a 53-year-old Filipino ferry ticket seller and a laborer, who both have PR statuses, and another 31-year-old Malaysian Immigration officer, were arrested in Sandakan.
According to Khalid, the two Filipino suspects with PR statuses supposedly “have assisted in the transit of three Indonesian IS militants to [the] southern Philippines through Sabah.”
The immigration officer, meanwhile, allegedly arranged the entries of people “without valid travel documents, including IS militants from Indonesia and Malaysia, into Sabah before they head to [the] southern Philippines.”
Also on Thursday, another 36-year-old Filipino man with alleged plans to join the IS in Syria was arrested.
On Sunday, March 12, a deported 36-year-old Malaysian, who allegedly tried to enter Syria with the help of known Indonesian militant Abu Fateh last year, was arrested at Kuala Lampur International Airport.
Since 2013, the Malaysian police has reportedly arrested more than 250 individuals for their alleged links to militant activities.