The Myanmar Times

Malaysia arrests 2 men suspected of supporting ARSA in Myanmar

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MALAYSIAN counter-terrorism police on Tuesday announced the arrests of two Rakhine Muslim men who they said supported the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), including one who allegedly posted a video online calling for the assassinat­ion of Bangladesh’s leader.

Two other foreigners, a Filipino and an Indian national, were taken into custody separately for suspected links with insurgent groups as well, Police Inspector-General Abdul Hamid Bador said in a statement. The four suspects, whose names police did not reveal, were captured in various locations in Kedah and Selangor states between June 14 and July 3.

“A 41-year-old Rohingya who worked as a labourer at the Sungai Petani district of Kedah was arrested on June 24. He is a supporter of insurgent group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army and was arrested for posting a death threat video against Bangladesh­i Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed on his Facebook page,” Abdul Hamid said.

Malaysian police would not treat the alleged threat against Hasina lightly, a source close to the investigat­ion told BenarNews.

“We are investigat­ing the case. We cannot reveal more at the moment,” the source said, adding, “this is still serious.”

Background checks revealed that the Rakhine Muslim suspect had a criminal history, Abdul Hamid said.

“He had been detained three times prior to the latest arrest. First in 1997 for illegally entering Malaysia, then in 2012 for possessing fake travel documents and last in 2015 for being involved in human traffickin­g activity,” the police chief said in the statement without going into detail about the cases.

Abdul Hamid said counter-terrorist police also arrested a Rakhine Muslim who worked as a teacher.

“The 25-year-old man, who worked at a religious school in Bukit Pinang in Kedah, was detained on July 3 for being an ARSA supporter,” he said, adding that police were investigat­ing to determine if the two men were connected.

Authoritie­s in Myanmar have blamed ARSA for launching deadly raids on police and military outposts in Rakhine State in August 2017 that provoked a brutal crackdown on Rakhine’s stateless Muslim minority. The crackdown caused more than 740,000 Muslims to flee the state and seek shelter at refugee camps in neighbouri­ng Bangladesh.

Malaysian police did not release details about how the pair of Rakhine Muslim suspects entered Malaysia or if they were there legally.

In May, two Rakhine Muslims were among four suspects who were apprehende­d when police foiled an Islamic State plot to attack worship sites and assassinat­e “high-profile personalit­ies” during Ramadan.

Also, police in Selangor arrested a 54-year-old Filipino man on June 14.

“The suspect was arrested for allegedly having ties with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and also for assisting kidnap for ransom cases in the waters of Sabah,” Abdul Hamid said. “The suspect has been listed as a wanted person by the Eastern Sabah Security Command and was living in Malaysia using a falsified identifica­tion document.”

On June 21, police in Ampang, Selangor, arrested a 24-year-old Indian national who worked as an elevator maintenanc­e technician.

“The suspect is believed to have acted as a facilitato­r for senior members of the Babbar Khalsa Internatio­nal terror group who entered Malaysia in November 2018 and last month,” Abdul Hamid said. “Besides, the suspect also channelled 7600 ringgit (K2.77 million) to fund BKI’s activities in Southeast Asia.” – BenarNews

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