SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Police in Singapore have arrested a man suspected of planning to join Islamic State-linked fighters in the Philippines and a woman who was in contact with foreign militants, the government said on Thursday.
Singapore, regarded as the most stable country in Southeast Asia, has become increasingly concerned about the risks of radicalisation among its Muslim minority.
At least 14 radicalised Singaporeans have been put under restriction or detention orders under a tough internal security law since 2015, up sharply from 11 cases between 2007 and 2014, the government said in June.
The man arrested was identified as Imran Kassim, 34. The Ministry of Home Affairs said he had tried to make his way to Syria to join Islamic State fighters at least twice, and had been prepared to attack members of the Singaporean armed forces.
More recently, he had intended to join militants who seized control of Marawi City in Philippines this year, the ministry said in a press release.
Imran’s arrest came as a result of information given to police by “people close to him”.
Authorities have mounted a campaign to encourage family members, friends and neighbours to report on anyone they fear was in danger of becoming radicalised.
The woman who was arrested was identified as Shakirah Begam binte Abdul Wahab, a 23-year old administrative assistant. The ministry said she had been in contact with several foreign fighters since 2013.
“Shakirah has demonstrated a propensity to engage in risky behaviour which renders her vulnerable to adverse influence and recruitment by terrorists who belong to a group that poses a security threat to Singapore”, the ministry said.
She was put under a restriction order, which means suspects are monitored and their movements are restricted.
A child care worker arrested in June is the only Singaporean woman to have been placed in custody under the Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial.
An auxiliary policeman who was suspected of becoming radicalised was also arrested in June.
Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Robert Birsel