Singapore detains five militants
SINGAPORE, June 10 - A young Muslim Singaporean law graduate has been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for planning militant activities, after being influenced by radical ideas online.
He is part of what the Home Affairs Ministry on Friday described as a troubling new phenomenon of individuals who are 'self-radicalised' and not directly recruited by established terrorist groups.
Abdul Basheer Abdul Kader, 28, earned his law degree from the National University of Singapore. He practised law at a top firm here and later became a polytechnic lecturer.
His militant views were shaped by the Internet and last year, he left for a Middle East country to learn Arabic for communicating with 'mujahidin' fighters.
Very soon, the extremist propaganda on the Net so influenced him that he bought a plane ticket to Pakistan, where he planned to get training for a militant jihad or holy war and to go into Afghanistan and join the Taleban.
His plans were thwarted when he was arrested and detained in February this year.
The ministry also said that between November 2006 and April 2007, four Singaporean JI members had been detained.
It said one of them - Ishak Mohamed Noohu - was a senior member of the Singapore JI network and had been part of a team that had planned to hijack an airplane in order to crash it into Singapore's Changi Airport.
Under Singapore's Internal Security Act, authorities can detain suspects indefinitely without immediate public notice of the arrests.
The ministry said Ishak and the three other JI members had left Singapore just before or after a December 2001 security operation against the JI network, while Abdul Basheer had left Singapore in October 2006.
It did not say whether the five men were arrested in Singapore or abroad.
The ministry also said five other JI detainees were released on June 1. Four of those men had been detained since September 2002. One had been detained since February 2007.
The Home Affairs ministry said in September it was holding 34 suspected Muslim militants in detention under internal security laws, which allow for indefinite detention without trial. The ministry did not detail how many militants are currently being held, following the five new arrests and the five releases. – Straits Times/Reuters