27 Bangladeshis arrested in Singapore for terror links

Singapore, Jan 20 (IANS) At least 27 Bangladeshi nationals, who planned to take part in extremist activities in other countries, including their homeland, were arrested in Singapore, the island state’s Ministry of Home Affairs said on Wednesday.

The arrests were made by the Internal Security Department, Xinhua reported.

All 27 male Bangladeshis, working in the construction industry in Singapore, were arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) between November 16 and December 1 2015.

The work passes of them were cancelled and 26 of them have been repatriated to Bangladesh, MHA said.

The remaining one person currently serves a jail sentence for attempting to leave Singapore illegally after learning about the arrests of his fellow group members. He will be repatriated to Bangladesh upon completion of his sentence.

Other 26 were members of a closed religious study group that subscribed to extremist beliefs and teachings of radical ideologies like Anwar al-Awlaki.

They supported the armed jihad ideology of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The remaining Bangladeshi was not a member of the group, but was found to be in the process of becoming radicalised and was supportive of extremist preachers. He also possessed jihadi-related material, added MHA.

The group members took measures to avoid detection by the authorities. They shared jihadi-related material discreetly among themselves, and held weekly meetings and gatherings where they discussed armed jihad and conflicts that involved Muslims.

They also carefully targeted the recruitment of other Bangladeshi nationals to grow their membership.

A significant amount of radical and jihadi-related material like books and videos, including footages of children undergoing training in what appeared to be terrorist military camps, were recovered from the possession of the group, MHA said.

Several members also had a shared document containing graphic images and instruction details on how to conduct “silent killings” using different methods and weapons.

The Singapore government takes a very serious view of any form of support for terrorism and will take firm and decisive action against any person who engages in any activity in support of terrorism, said the MHA.

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