A public university student and a foreigner were among 16 men who were detained in Malaysia, over alleged involvement with terrorist groups, at six locations in the country between Sept. 21 and Oct. 6.

Inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar said in a statement issued in Kuala Lumpur that the suspects, aged between 20 and 38 years, were detained by the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division in operations in Selangor, Kelantan, Perak, Kedah, Penang and Sabah.

Those detained comprised businessmen (five), technicians (four), unemployed (two), a government school counselor, a bank employee, an executive manager, an antique goods dealer and a student.

Khalid said the student, 20, who was studying at a university in Johor, was detained at the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang, on Sept. 22.

"Prior to that, the suspect had gone to Istanbul on Sept. 7 and was detained by the Turkish authorities the next day (Sept. 8) for planning to infiltrate into Syria to join a terrorist group.

"The arrest by the Turkish authorities was a result of a tip-off by the Bukit Aman Special Branch," he said.

He said a 32-year-old foreign national, believed to be from North Africa, was also arrested during one of the operations in Selangor, on suspicion of being a member of the Jahbat Al Nusra Group in Syria.

"The man was detained on Sept 25. [The] investigation found the suspect had infiltrated into the country several times since last May. When in Malaysia, he was believed to be involved in a syndicate falsifying travel documents for the use of the group," Khalid said.

Members of the 'Black Crow' cell

Meanwhile, the other 14 suspects were believed to be members of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group from the Black Crow cell headed by Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedy.

All were suspected to have made their pledge of loyalty via online to Muhammad Wanndy and channelled funds to him, he said.

Hence. Khalid said. they were suspected of committing offences under Chapter VIA - terrorism-related offences, Penal Code (Act 574) and would be investigated in accordance with the procedure under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Act 747).

Meanwhile, the Higher Education Ministry has taken several proactive measures to block Daesh's influence at all higher institutions of learning.

Referring to media reports on the involvement of two public university students in IS activities, the ministry in a statement issued in Kuala Lumpur yesterday said it had furnished information on the students involved for further action.

"The ministry will continue to give cooperation to the Royal Malaysia Police on the matter," it said.

The ministry stressed that monitoring had been escalated at all IPTs nationwide to ensure the threat of students' involvements in IS activities, which moved silently and slyly, could be thwarted.

The News Lens has been authorized to repost this article. The piece was first published on Malaysiakini.

Edited by: Edward White