Myanmar: Some Malaysians in Midst of Engaging in ‘Jihad’

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Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay of the Special Branch says IS using Rohingya conflict as a means to influence and recruit new members into terrorism.

The police have confirmed that some Malaysians, supported by the Daesh (Islamic State) militant group, are in the midst of engaging in ‘jihad’ in Myanmar to fight against the government there on behalf of the oppressed Rohingya Muslim minority community in Rakhine State.

Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division (E8) Assistant Director Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the Rohingya conflict was being used as the key weapon by the IS to influence and recruit new members to engage in terrorism.

He said the widespread sharing of images on social media of the oppressed Rohingya people in the region was to evoke sympathy and help the IS lure new members.

“Moreover, we do have intelligence information about the possibility of Indonesians involved in militant activities in their country,” he told reporters.

Commenting further, Ayob Khan said Myanmar’s proximity to Malaysia pushed IS militants to act in Rakhine. Myanmar is closer to Malaysia than Syria and the southern Philippines where the conflict is ongoing, and was, therefore, being used as another option for ‘jihad’.

Although the recruiting of terrorists to Rakhine was still in the early stages, police were gathering information, which included the detention of a 38-year-old man from Melaka on Sept 10, he said.

Based on intelligence information, the suspect, a cendol seller, was nabbed on suspicion of actively promoting IS militancy by printing and distributing the group’s flag as well as planning to join the IS in the Philippines and Rakhine.