2 Bangladeshis held in Malaysia for alleged IS links

Dhaka, Jan 24 (IANS) Two Bangladesh nationals were arrested in Malaysia for suspected links to the Islamic State (IS) militant group, media reported on Tuesday.

Malaysian Special Branch’s Counter-Terrorism Division held four persons, including the two Bangladesh citizens, in separate raids between January 13 and 19 in Kuala Lumpur and Sabah, the Daily Star reported.

The suspects included a 31-year-old Filipino and a 27-year-old Malaysian woman.

The Bangladesh men, aged 27 and 28, worked as salesmen, and were arrested last Thursday in Kuala Lumpur. They were suspected of having ties to suspected IS militants in Bangladesh and planning to join a terror cell led by Mahmud Ahmad, according to the report.

Mahmud Ahmad was a former lecturer at University Malaya who had joined IS militants based in the southern Philippines.

Malaysian police said the arrests meant that police had effectively destroyed a new IS cell which had planned to turn Sabah into a transit station for Southeast Asia and South Asia terrorists to join a Philippines-based IS group led by Mahmud and Isnilon Hapilon.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that the cell, led by Mahmud, had combined with an Abu Sayyaf group headed by Isnilon, which had pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakar Al Baghdadi,” police said in a statement.

Malaysia is a major destination for Bangladeshi job-seekers. Around four lakh Bangladeshi nationals are now working in the country.