Singapore has detained a suspected member of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) extremist group who had undergone bomb-making and firearms training in the southern Philippines, the interior ministry said.
Mohamad Azmi bin Ali, 41, is being held under the Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial, following his arrest last November, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement on its website Thursday.
It described Azmi as a “long-time JI member who joined the group in 1989.” He also became a member of the Philippine Muslim separatist rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the ministry said.
He had visited an MILF camp in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao and “learnt to handle firearms and attended a bomb-making demonstration,” the ministry added.
“Azmi also donated funds to the MILF cause, and was fully aware that the money would be used… to purchase ammunition.”
Azmi fled Singapore in December 2001 after authorities mounted security operations that crippled a local JI cell whose members were allegedly planning to bomb US and other foreign targets in the city-state.
“He remained in hiding overseas and was eventually arrested with the cooperation of regional authorities,” the ministry said without disclosing where the arrest took place.
The JI has been blamed for a series of deadly attacks in Southeast Asia, including the October 2002 nightclub bombing in Bali, Indonesia that killed 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.
Singapore has taken tough security measures with officials warning that the island-republic, a regional financial centre and host to thousands of multinational companies, is a prime target for terror attacks.