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More info on 5 Pinoys linked to IS sought

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines -  The Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur has requested further information from the Royal Malaysian Police on the alleged link of five arrested individuals with militants in Mindanao, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the embassy has also asked for details on the nationalities of the five arrested individuals.

“Based on initial information received from the Royal Malaysian Police, none of the five had Philippine passports or other identity documents in their possession,” Jose said.

The Malaysian police said on Monday they have arrested seven people, including five Filipinos, for suspected links with the militant group Islamic State (IS).

More than 250 people have been arrested in Malaysia between 2013 and 2016 over suspected militant activities linked to the IS.

Most of the arrests were made during an operation in Sabah, on Borneo island, earlier this month.

A Filipino suspect with permanent residency in Malaysia has been detained on suspicion of raising funds and channeling them to Mahmud Ahmad and Mohamad Joraimee Awang Raimee, two Malaysians who have joined up with the IS in southern Philippines.

One Filipino male was planning to travel to Syria to join up with the IS there, while another was found to have pledged allegiance to Isnilon Hapilon, the Philippines’ most-wanted man and leader of the militant Abu Sayyaf group.

In June, militants who claimed to be fighting for IS said in a video they had chosen Hapilon to lead their Southeast Asian faction.

Two other Philippine suspects – a man and a woman – were arrested for smuggling three IS members from Malaysia and Indonesia.

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