'Bali-style bombings possible in Sabah, Jemaah Islamiyah suspects nabbed last year'
Published on: Saturday, February 20, 2021
By: The Vibes
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Kota Kinabalu: Sabah could see attacks similar to the Bali bombings of 2002 and assault on the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta a year later if nothing is done to curb Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) activities in the state.

The bombings of nightclubs in Bali had killed 202, while the attack in Jakarta left 12 dead.

Members of the extremist Islamist group were later convicted over the bombings.

Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali  (pic) said the state is not just a transit point for JI, but also a safe haven to flee arrest, recruit members and raise funds.

He said JI members are able to blend in with the locals, and work at construction sites and factories.

The salaries they take home are then used to fund their militant activities.

“Based on our interrogations, we found out that they (JI members) often make Sabah a transit point, a ‘safe haven’ before moving to the Philippines or Indonesia,” said Hazani.

“They usually come from Indonesia and enter Sabah’s east coast through Tawau, before moving on to the Philippines. 

“There (in the Philippines), they are provided various training, such as in firearms use, bomb-making and combat situations. 

“Their experience in combat will be used to fight in their respective countries.”

He said because of this, there is an urgent need to nip the situation in the bud.

“If we let them roam freely and build a strong network, surely, it will be a threat to peace in Sabah.”

Between 2014 and 2020, 83 individuals suspected of involvement with JI have been arrested in Sabah.

Of the total, 38 were locals, 39 from the Philippines and eight were Indonesians.

Hazani said the JI ideology differs among locals, Filipinos and Indonesians.

“The locals can be neutralised during detention and no longer have the extremist ideology that they had before.

“The Filipinos can be classified as 50-50; half of them would change (their ideology), while the rest would stand firm.

“From our experience, 90pc of Indonesian JI members remained steadfast with their fight (after detention).

“We believe this is because they are bound to baiah (oath of allegiance to a leader) and jihad, which influences their way of life.” Hazani said after Filipino detainees are returned to their country, Malaysia ceases to receive any further information about them.

“However, for Indonesian detainees, the embassy (of Indonesia) works with the Royal Malaysia Police to manage their return to Jakarta.

“This means that they are free, but are still under the supervision of their government.

“We have been exchanging information regarding the JI movement,” he said, adding police will continue to monitor JI activities in the state. 


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