Malaysia foils Daesh-linked plot, seizes explosives

The planned attacks were to avenge the high-profile death of a Muslim fireman during riots at an Indian temple outside Kuala Lumpur last year, police said. (File/AFP)
Updated 13 May 2019
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Malaysia foils Daesh-linked plot, seizes explosives

  • Authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia regularly announce Daesh-related arrests
  • Malaysia practices a moderate brand of Islam and has not seen any notable terror attacks in recent years

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police said Monday they have arrested four militants linked to the Daesh group who were in possession of explosives and planned to attack non-Muslim places of worship.
The suspects — a Malaysian who led the group, two Rohingya from Myanmar and one Indonesian — were detained last week in raids around Kuala Lumpur and in eastern Terengganu state.
Malaysia’s national police chief Abdul Hamid Bador described them as an “Islamic State cell” and said they planned to “assassinate high-profile individuals and attack Hindu, Christian and Buddhist places of worship in Malaysia.”
He did not give any details about who the high-profile individuals were. Police also seized six improvised explosive devices, a pistol and 15 bullets, he said.
The planned attacks were to avenge the high-profile death of a Muslim fireman during riots at an Indian temple outside Kuala Lumpur last year, police said.
One of the Rohingya admitted supporting the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, a militant group blamed for attacks in Myanmar that sparked an army crackdown, and had also planned to target the Myanmar embassy in Kuala Lumpur, police said.
The second Rohingya was a 25-year-old laborer who admitted to being militant with ties to Daesh, police said.
The Rohingya are a Muslim minority that have long faced persecution in their Buddhist homeland.
Police are hunting for three more members of the suspected terror cell who allegedly planned to attack entertainment outlets.
Authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia regularly announce Daesh-related arrests but it is rare for police to seize explosives or weapons.
Malaysia practices a moderate brand of Islam and has not seen any notable terror attacks in recent years.
But security forces are on alert for militants from Malaysia and other parts of the region heading to the country after Daesh lost the last of its territory in the Middle East.
Authorities say scores of Malaysian radicals flocked to fight with the militants in Iraq and Syria.


Monsoon flooding death toll rises to 152 in South Asia

Updated 20 July 2019
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Monsoon flooding death toll rises to 152 in South Asia

  • At least 90 people have died in Nepal and 50 in northeastern India’s Assam state over the past week
  • South Asia’s monsoon rains, which hit the region from June to September, are crucial for the rain-fed crops planted during the season

GAUHATI, India: The death toll in monsoon flooding in South Asia has risen to 152 as millions of people and animals continue to face the brunt in three countries, officials said Saturday.
At least 90 people have died in Nepal and 50 in northeastern India’s Assam state over the past week. A dozen have been killed in Bangladesh.
Shiv Kumar, a government official in Assam, said 10 rare one-horned rhinos have died in Kaziranga National Park since the Brahmaputra River burst its banks, flooding the reserve.
Some 4.8 million people spread over 3,700 villages across the state are still affected by the floods, though the frequency of rains has decreased in the past 24 hours, the Assam Disaster Response Authority said. More than 2.5 million have also been hit by flooding in India’s Bihar state.
Amid the flooding, 20-year-old Imrana Khatoon delivered her first baby on a boat in floodwaters early Friday while on her way to a hospital in Assam’s flooded Gagalmari village, locals said. The woman and the newborn were brought back to their home without getting to the hospital.
Community health worker Parag Jyoti Das, who visited the family, said there were no post-delivery health complications. However, the mother and the child were moved to a hospital on a boat to the nearby town of Jhargaon because of unhygienic conditions due to floodwaters, Das said. The health center in Khatoon’s village was flooded and closed.
“I would have felt happier if the baby’s father was here,” said Khatoon, whose husband works in a hotel in the southern state of Kerala.
More than 147,000 people have taken shelter in 755 government-run camps across Assam, officials said.
Authorities warned they would take action against suppliers who were reported to be distributing poor quality rice and other essentials to marooned people and inmates of temporary shelters at some places.
“We have ordered the arrest of those unscrupulous elements supplying substandard materials and playing with the lives of the affected people,” said Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam’s finance minister.
In Nepal, the Home Ministry said about 36,728 families were affected by the monsoon rains. The flooding and mudslides forced some 13,000 families to flee their homes.
In at least two of Nepal’s districts, helicopters were used to transport emergency food supplies, while other transport means were being used to move tents and other supplies to the victims.
South Asia’s monsoon rains, which hit the region from June to September, are crucial for the rain-fed crops planted during the season.