Kuala Lumpur, Jan 13: Malaysian Police crackdown on the activities of Islamic State (IS) militants here has thwarted the terror group's plans to use Malaysia as a transit point for recruits headed to Syria to join its ranks.
A recruiter in Syria for the militant group reportedly posted a warning on the IS website, asking Indonesians not to transit in Malaysia, saying that to do so would be suicidal. The post on the website said many Indonesians who transited the country in recent months had been arrested before they could reach their destination.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim said that Malaysia's counter-terrorism division were keeping an eye on both Malaysians and other nationals trying to join IS.
"We are glad our efforts are showing results and are preventing militants from joining IS through Malaysia," Ibrahim was quoted as saying by the Star today. With Malaysia no longer a viable option, the Star quoting unnamed sources said the militants could try alternate routes such as via Brunei, Hong Kong, China and some European countries to get to Turkey and then Syria.
"The authorities discovered that Brunei was one alternative route used by Malaysian militants following an arrest last month. It is possible that Indonesian militants may be using the same route as well," a source said.
Attempts have also been made to fly to Saudi Arabia on the pretext of performing the Umrah and to Jordan before securing passage to IS-controlled territories, according to the sources. However, another source called for caution, saying that the warning on the IS website could be a ruse to throw the authorities off guard. Since February last year, Malaysia's Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division has arrested 51 suspected Malaysian militants. Last month, 12 Indonesians including five children, who were planning to fly from here to Turkey and then to Syria, were arrested in Selangor state during a large-scale operation.