KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 45 foreign fighters have been arrested in Malaysia so far this year, said the country's Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun.
The majority are linked to Islamic State (IS), including three Iraqis who were commanders in the Iraqi IS cell. Indonesians, Filipinos and Yemenis were also part of this group of detainees.
Nine of those arrested are from the Abu Sayyaf Group, three from the Turkish Fetullah terrorist group and one from an Albanian terror cell with connections to IS, according to a police statement release on Friday (Oct 13).
Malaysia's Counter Terrorism Division received intelligence that the foreign fighters - who were previously operating in Syria and Iraq - were ordered to infiltrate countries around the world after IS lost ground in the Middle East.
“We also discovered coordination between IS and other terrorist groups, including the Abu Sayyaf in sending militants to Malaysia to launch attacks," Inspector-General Fuzi added.
"The FTF (foreign terrorist fighters) used the country as a hideout, to collect donations, or as a transit point before launching a terror attack in another country."
So far, 13 of the militants have been charged for offences under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012. Another 12 have been deported to their home countries to face legal action.
One has been detained under Malaysia's Prevention of Terrorism Act, while 12 suspects are still under investigation. The remaining seven suspects have been released.