Terror suspects from Nigeria, Jordan, Syria and Yemen have been detained in Malaysia, activists said yesterday. This follows a report which linked them to the Nigerian behind the botched Christmas plane bombing.
Malaysia announced on Wednesday it had kept 10 people for “acts of terrorism”. The government-linked New Straits Times said the 10 were believed to be associated with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian student accused of trying to bomb a Northwest Airlines plane on the 25 Dec 2009, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports.
Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that the suspects were being held under the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows for indefinite detention without trial. He refused to confirm or deny the New Straits Times report and said Malaysia would not release further information that could jeopardise the ongoing investigation.
Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, chairman of the Abolish ISA Movement, said that 50 people were detained on January 21 as they attended a religious lecture on the fringes of the capital Kuala Lumpur.
He said the majority were released the following day but that 10 remained in detention including two Nigerians.
Syed Ibrahim said the detentions may have been a response to international pressure on Malaysia to crack down on terrorism, particularly after US warnings that militants were planning attacks on foreigners at Borneo island resorts.
Muhamad Yunus Zainal Abidin, 29, said at the press conference that he was among those detained during the lecture by Syrian preacher Aiman Al Dakkak, who was also taken into custody.
He said that authorities questioned him over Aiman’s activities, but that he was not asked about the Christmas Day bomb plot.
“I think this is a very good wake-up call because the playground for the terrorist is no longer one location. In this borderless world that we live in now, the whole world is their playground,” home minister Hishammuddin told reporters.
Sources: www.rnw.nl and AFP