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M'sia 'strategic' place for recruiting militants, says expert
Publication Date : 30-10-2012
Militant groups, including al-Qaeda, consider Malaysia among the countries favoured for recruiting new followers due to its strategic location, said a counter-terrorism expert.
Andrin Raj, the regional director for the International Association for Counter-terrorism and Security Professionals, said past lapses in controlling the entry of foreigners also allowed militant groups to use the country as a coordination centre.
“Malaysia is seen by the groups as a conduit where recruitment activities can be carried out, and is valued as a centre for coordination.”
Raj said Malaysians had been recruited not only by al-Qaeda but by other groups including Jemaah Islamiah and Hezbollah.
He said militant groups have been recruiting Malaysians as far back as during the war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union (between 1979 to 1989).
“In the past, Malaysian recruits have been trained in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Southern Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia,” said Raj.
Al-Qaeda operatives were constantly trying to recruit from these countries, he added.
On the possible modus operandi of the network that allegedly recruited the two Malaysians - Muhamad Razin Sharhan Mustafa Kamal, 21, and Razif Mohd Ariff, 30 - who were detained in Lebanon last week, Raj said that a group called “Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb” was among those suspected of having links with Malaysian individuals.
Those recruited by this group could have been sent to Yemen, where they would have met with associates of the militant “Jaish Aden Abin al Islami,” which is said to be linked the main al-Qaeda organisation, he said.