PH checking if ISIS-linked men arrested in Malaysia are Filipinos
The Philippine ambassador to Malaysia on Monday said the embassy is working to confirm the identity of five individuals arrested in Malaysia for supposed links with international terrorist group Islamic State (IS).
Earlier media reports said the five men were Filipinos and were arrested separately in Sabah.
Ambassador Eduardo Malaya told INQUIRER.net that the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur “has requested further information from the Royal Malaysian Police on the alleged link of the five arrested individuals with militants in Mindanao.”
“The Embassy has asked in particular for details on the nationality or nationalities of the five arrested individuals,” Malaya said in an e-mail. “We trust that their names and other personal details will be shared with us shortly, particularly if they are indeed Filipinos. “
The ambassador said the Royal Malaysia Police initially informed the embassy that “none of the five had Philippine passports or identity documents in their possession, although three are confirmed to be permanent residents in Malaysia.”
A report from The Star Online said a female immigration officer was also arrested for allegedly arranging the travel of militants, who did not have valid documents, to Sabah before heading to Mindanao.
A police official said that some of the men have permanent resident status in Malaysia.
One of the suspects was tagged as an IS militant and was said to have “sworn allegiance to Abu Sayyaf senior leader Isnilon Hapilon.”
Malaya expressed confidence in working with the Malaysian authorities, who he said they have “close working relations” with, “including intelligence sharing on anti-terrorism cases.”
“We expect to vigorously cooperate with them on these latest cases as well,” he said.