Saturday , June 22 2024

Two officers killed in JI attack on Malaysian police station


KUALA LUMPUR: Two police officers have been killed and one injured in Malaysia after a man suspected to be part of the hardline Jemaah Islamiyah group stormed a police station.

The attack took place in the early hours of Friday morning in the town of Ulu Tiram in the southern state of Johor as police on duty dealt with a couple who had said they wanted to make a statement about a two-year-old incident, Inspector General of Police Razarudin Husain was quoted as saying in the New Straits Times newspaper.

While the group was talking the suspect arrived at the back of the station on a motorcycle, armed with a machete.

When an officer confronted the man, he lashed out with the machete, grabbing the policeman’s service revolver to shoot dead the second officer.

Razarudin said investigators suspected the man, who was shot dead by a third officer who was injured after being slashed with the machete, was planning to seize weapons for a “yet to be determined agenda”.

Razaurdin told Malaysian media that police raided the suspect’s house, not far from the police station, and found “numerous JI-related paraphernalia”. Five members of his family were arrested, including the suspect’s 62-year-old father who police said was a “known JI member”. The two people who were lodging the police report were also detained.

Other members of JI living in the state, which borders Singapore, were also being arrested, the Malay Mail news outlet quoted Razarudin as saying.

Jemaah Islamiyah is an al-Qaeda-affiliated group that aimed to establish a hardline Islamic state in Indonesia and across Southeast Asia.

At its height in the 2000s, JI was alleged to have members from Indonesia to Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and the Philippines, and masterminded a series of deadly bombings, including the October 2002 attack in Bali that killed more than 200 people.

Some of its most prominent leaders were Malaysian, including Noordin Muhammad Top who acted as a recruiter, strategist and financier for the group and was wanted for involvement in a string of attacks in Indonesia.

Noordin was from Johor and was reported to have founded a religious school in Ulu Tiram.

JI is banned in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Police have arrested seven people in connection with the attack, including five members of the attacker’s family.

Reuters was unable to contact those detained or their legal representatives.

Razarudin said he had also ordered investigations of all JI members in the state, adding that police have identified more than 20 living in Johor.

JI is accused of orchestrating some of the deadliest militant attacks in neighbouring Indonesia, including the 2002 bombings of Bali nightclubs that killed more than 200 people. Some of JI’s senior leaders have been known to use Malaysia as an operational base.

Muslim-majority Malaysia has detained hundreds of people for suspected militant activities since a 2016 attack in the capital Kuala Lumpur linked to the Islamic State. Arrests have largely abated in recent years following a regional crackdown.

In the early 2000s, the potential for terror attacks in Southeast Asia appeared dramatically different from today.

Indonesia was rocked by the Christmas Eve church bombings on December 24, 2000, that killed 18 people. Just six days later, Metro Manila in the Philippines experienced similar bombings that killed 22 people. (Int’l Monitoring Desk)

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