Among the arrested, also a "key man" of the jihadist group active in the Philippines. The arrests have taken place in recent weeks in the towns of Sabah and Putrajaya. Recruited children were used in clashes with the Philippine army.
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Malaysian police have arrested eight alleged Islamic militants, of which six belong to the jihadist group Abu Sayyaf, who recruited children to be used as "human shields" in attacks in the Philippines.
Inspector General of Police, Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun, said the arrests occurred during a series of anti-terrorist operations conducted recently, between October 30 and November 12, in the territories of Sabah and Putrajaya.
Seven Filipinos and one Malaysian were arrested. Among the Filipinos suspected of recruiting minors, the name of a 35-year-old arrested in Ranau, in the State of Sabah, stands out. According to Inspector Fuzi, he would be "the key man who recruited minors for Abu Sayyaf, to be used as human shields against the Philippine army in Basilan". For the Malaysian police chief, the man is also involved "in the beheading of captured hostages" by the extremist group.
Abu Sayyaf is the smallest group in terms of numbers but the most dangerous and bloody among the radical Islamic movements that are fighting for the independence of the southern Philippines. The activities of the terrorists are concentrated around the provinces of Basilan and Sulu (whose capital is Jolo, the headquarters of the jihadists). Kidnapping for ransoms is their major source of income. The hostages who cannot pay, or for whom national governments decide not to give in to the blackmail of fundamentalists, are often beheaded as a "warning" to others.
The other alleged Abu Sayyaf affiliates are a 30-year-old man, who would be the right-hand man of the group commander, Furuji Indama; three other men aged between 27 and 51 working as laborers; a 34-year-old who would make firearms for the radical movement; a 60-year-old Filipino, pet seller; a 38-year-old Malaysian who trades gold bars.