Malaysia arrests security guards in connection with Abu Sayyaf group

Seven Filipino security guards arrested on September 21 and are suspected of being attached to the Abu Sayyaf group in connection with notorious kidnappings for ransom.

Abu Sayyaf group, Malaysia
Filipino soldiers stand near the bodies of members of Abu Sayyaf group, killed during a firefight with government soldiers, after they rescued two Indonesian hostages from Islamist militant captors, in Jolo, Sulu in southern Philippines, September 7, 2017 Reuters

Malaysian police arrested seven Filipino security guards on Thursday suspecting them to be a part of Abu Sayyaf Group or ASG, a notorious gang indulged in brutal acts of kidnapping for a heavy pay-off and inducing terror nationwide.

The suspects were caught responsible for a counter terror raid on September 14. Allegedly they crept into the country through Sandakan, Sabah in Malaysia. Following police reports, they sneaked into the country using false documents and identity proof.

"All seven suspects aged between 22 and 38 worked as security guards at several private companies around Selangor and Kuala Lumpur," said Mohamad Fuzi Harun, Inspector General of Police in a press statement to Channel NewsAsia.

One of the suspects is a 22 year old, who has been declared to be a member of ASG. Reports suggest that he was involved in a clash with the Philippine military as well, concerning kidnappings in south Philippines.

One of the security guards worked for Syabas which is a water utility company, according to an intelligence source.

"Since the start of this year, a total of 41 foreigners who have been categorised as foreign terrorist fighters have been arrested by the Special Branch's counter terrorism division" added Fuzi. He further confirmed that the Malaysian police shall be swift enough in proper investigation of the same.

"The Royal Malaysian police will continue to launch operations to trace and arrest foreign militants who infiltrate into Malaysia to take shelter, raise funds, launch attacks in the country or to turn Malaysia into a base to launch attacks in third countries."

Earlier this year in August 30, members of the Abu Sayyaf cell were arrested in connection to a terror attack project launch at the 29th SEA Games which was held at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium and the 60th Independence Day ceremony on Merdeka Square, Malaysia. The arrest of the seven security guards therefore should not come as a surprise.