Man arrested in Singapore allegedly planned to join terrorists in Marawi


Posted at Sep 07 2017 06:58 PM

A soldier patrols a deserted village after pro-Islamic State militants had left, on the outskirts of Marawi city on Tuesday. On Thursday, Singapore police arrested a man who had intended to join militants who seized control of Marawi city in Philippines this year, the Singapore government has said. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

SINGAPORE — Police here have arrested a man suspected of planning to join Islamic State-linked fighters in the Philippines and a woman who was in contact with foreign militants, the government said Thursday.

Regarded as the most stable country in Southeast Asia, Singapore has become increasingly concerned about the risks of radicalization among its Muslim minority.

At least 14 radicalized Singaporeans have been put under restriction or detention orders under a tough internal security law since 2015, up sharply from 11 cases between 2007 and 2014, the government said in June.

The man arrested was identified as Imran Kassim, 34. The Ministry of Home Affairs said he had tried to make his way to Syria to join Islamic State fighters at least twice, and had been prepared to attack members of the Singaporean armed forces.

More recently, he had intended to join militants who seized control of Marawi city in Philippines this year, the ministry said in a press release.

Imran’s arrest came as a result of information given to police by “people close to him.”

Authorities have mounted a campaign to encourage family members, friends and neighbors to report on anyone they fear was in danger of becoming radicalized.

The woman who was detained was identified as Shakirah Begam binte Abdul Wahab, a 23-year old administrative assistant. She is the second Singaporean woman to be detained on suspicion of becoming radicalized.

The ministry said she had been in contact with several foreign fighters since 2013.

“Shakirah has demonstrated a propensity to engage in risky behavior which renders her vulnerable to adverse influence and recruitment by terrorists who belong to a group that poses a security threat to Singapore,” the Ministry said.

In June, police arrested an auxiliary policeman and child-care worker who were both suspected of becoming radicalized. (Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Robert Birsel)