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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Malaysia arrests suspected Abu Sayyaf leader and members

Hajar Abdul Mubin, a Filipino, was arrested along with one other Filipino and six Malaysians from the Borneo state of Sabah, which shares a porous maritime border with the Philippines

Filipino soldiers collect confiscated firearms from killed Abu Sayyaf members in the Philippine town of Ibanga on April 12, 2017.
Filipino soldiers collect confiscated firearms from killed Abu Sayyaf members in the Philippine town of Ibanga on April 12, 2017.

Malaysian police arrested a suspected leader and seven members of the ISIL-linked Abu Sayyaf militant group in Kuala Lumpur, a police source said on Sunday.

Police detained Hajar Abdul Mubin — otherwise known as Abu Asrie — in the Wednesday raid, according to the source.

Hajar, a Filipino, was arrested along with one other Filipino and six Malaysians from the Borneo state of Sabah, which shares a porous maritime border with the Philippines.

The arrests were first reported by the English-language newspaper The Star.

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The Abu Sayyaf is notorious for bombings, beheadings, extortion and kidnap-for-ransom in the south of the Philippines.

The arrests were the latest in an ongoing crackdown on militancy by Malaysia. More than 250 people have been arrested between 2013 and 2016 for suspected militancy linked to ISIL.

Governments in South-East Asia have been worried over the possible expansion of ISIL in the region as battle-hardened militants return home after the collapse of their self-styled caliphate in the Middle East.

Militants loyal to ISIL seized large parts of the southern Philippines city of Marawi in May. Some 620 militants, 136 soldiers and police and 45 civilians were killed in more than 100 days of fighting.

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