KUALA LUMPUR, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian police have busted a terror cell linked to Islamic State (IS), which the police suspected of using the state of Sabah to transfer new recruits to southern Philippines.
The IS-linkage was established after four suspects of the cell were arrested during two recent operations by the police counter-terrorism branch in January, said Khalid Abu Bakar, Inspector-General of the police in a statement on Monday.
The police found one of the suspects, a 31-year-old Filipino man who worked as a watch seller when he was caught in Kota Kinabalu, has been taking orders from the so-called "Dr. Mahmud Ahmad," a former university lecturer who joined the IS in southern Philippines as a recruiter for the terror group.
The police chief said the man was instructed to help new recruits to transit via Sabah to Marawi city in Mindanao of the Philippines.
The second suspect, a 27-year-old Malaysian woman, was detained when she was meeting with the first suspect. The police suspected that she was recruited by the Filipino via social media.
The other two suspects, two men from Bangladesh, aged 27 and 28 respectively, were caught in Kuala Lumpur and were believed to be in connection with IS in their home country, said Khalid.
Khalid also said that the suspects were in connection with the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines, citing intelligence gathered by the authorities.
He did not give details on how the two were connected but Abu Sayyaf, a Jihadis rebel group based in southern Philippines, has declared their allegiance to IS since 2014.