MANILA–The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday said it is still verifying the true nationality of the five individuals arrested by the Royal Malaysian police allegedly Filipinos with link to international terrorists ISIS.
DFA Spokesman and Assistant Secretary Charles Jose saidthey have instructed the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur to further seek assistance to identify the true nationality of the five individuals.
“The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has requested further information from the Royal Malaysian Police on the alleged link of the five arrested individuals with militants in Mindanao,” Jose said. “The Embassy has also asked for details on the nationalities of the five arrested individuals.”
Based on initial information received from the Royal Malaysian Police, none of the five had Philippine passports or other identity documents in their possession.
He said should the arrested suspects are proven Filipinos, they will be provided with free legal assistance through the embassy.
Malaysian police on Monday said they had arrested seven people, five of them were Filipinos with suspected links to the Islamic State militant group.
The Southeast Asian nation has been on high alert since armed gunmen linked to the Islamic State launched multiple attacks in Jakarta, Indonesia in January 2016.
Reports claimed that a Philippine suspect with permanent residency in Malaysia was detained on suspicion of raising funds and channelling them to Mahmud Ahmad and Mohamad Joraimee Awang Raimee, two Malaysians who had joined up with the Islamic State in the southern Philippines.
Further, another suspected Filipino was planning to travel to Syria to join up with the Islamic State there, while another was found to have pledged allegiance to Isnilon Hapilon, the Philippines’ most-wanted man and leader of the Abu Sayyaf militant group.