| Hakim Hayat |
THE Internal Security Department (ISD) has thwarted an attempt by a 34-year-old local woman to help a foreign man who had intended to join the activities of a terrorist organisation, a statement from the department said.
Investigations revealed that she had been in contact with the foreign national since August 2014 via social network and continued to do so despite knowing his intention to join the Islamic State (IS).
The local woman, who is now being held under a Restriction Order under Section 3(1)(b) of the Internal Security Act (Chapter 133) effective February 4, 2015, facilitated the man’s entry into the Sultanate, sought employment for him and planned to marry him in Brunei, which would have enabled him to prolong his stay in the country before pursuing with his plan to join the terrorist group, the ISD statement added.
The ISD said the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has been closely monitoring reports on individuals from countries within this region that have travelled and joined the terrorist organisation in Syria and Iraq.
It also said the latest trend used by these individuals involves using a third country as a transit point in order to avoid detection by authorities. Brunei Darussalam has also been deemed as one of the alternative routes, it added.
Malaysian news agency Bernama reported last December that Malaysians influenced by the IS’s ideology and trying to head to Syria to join the militants are increasingly eyeing Brunei Darussalam as their transit point.
Malaysian authorities recently foiled two attempts by its nationals to use Brunei Darussalam as a transit point before proceeding to Syria via Turkey. Last December, Malaysian authorities stopped a 30-year-old Malaysian man heading to Brunei Darussalam at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). He intended to get married in Brunei Darussalam before flying to Syria.
Malaysia’s Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar was quoted as saying in the report that they believe the man was opening a new path for Malaysians to go to Syria via Brunei Darussalam.
Meanwhile in last October, a Malaysian woman was caught trying to board a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Brunei Darussalam with the final destination being Istanbul in Turkey to marry a member of IS. The suspect was said to have been influenced to join the militants in Syria after interacting through Facebook.
The ISD statement yesterday reiterated the Brunei Government’s hard stance against terrorism in any form or under any guise and said it will take preventive measures to pre-empt and neutralise terrorist threats to safeguard the peace and security of the country.
“These measures are also taken to demonstrate Brunei Darussalam’s strong commitment and close cooperation with internal and external intelligence and enforcement agencies in combating activities that could jeopardise public order and security.”
The ISD has urged the public to be vigilant of suspicious individuals or foreign nationals, especially those using religion as a pretext to influence or recruit locals into marriage based on the doctrine of ‘jihad’, which goes against the true ‘syariat’ of Islam or plan to use Brunei as a transit point or an alternative route to travel to a known conflict area.
It also urged the public to always be on alert and prepared to assist the government by providing any information deemed as potentially harmful to the security and harmony of the nation, specifically on any individual or group that may be involved with militant and terrorist activities by calling the ISD Hotline 133 or contacting the nearest ISD branch in the country.