The detained included one of the Abu Sayyaf leaders named Hajar Abdul Mubin.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Sunday, September 3, said the right-hand man of an Abu Sayyaf senior leader was among two Filipinos arrested in Kuala Lumpur over alleged “involvement in terrorist activities” in the Malaysian capital.
Hajar, also known as Abu Asrie, was arrested with another Filipino, Abraham Embung, 29, and six Malaysians of Filipino descent from Sabah. The eastern state of Borneo shares a porous maritime border with the Philippines.
“But we are being vigilant and are constantly monitoring the situation”, he said.
Abu Sayyaf is one of the smallest and most violent jihadist groups operating in the southern Philippines.
Asked whether Esscom suspected that the militants could be living among Sabahans, especially in the east coast settlements or squatter areas, Hazani said there was no information on that.
The Star cited sources saying that Abu Asrie slipped into Malaysia in 2015 after meeting with Malaysian Islamic State (Daesh) militants Dr Mahmud Ahmad, Mohd Najib Hussein and Muhammad Joraimee in Basilan.
Malaysian police have arrested eight suspected Abu Sayyaf terror group militants in Kuala Lumpur.
Governments in Southeast Asia have been anxious over the possible expansion of Islamic State in the region as battle-hardened militants return home after the collapse of their self-styled caliphate in the Middle East.
The Philippines is now battling with another IS affiliated group called Maute that has overran the southern Philippine city of Marawi since May 23. Some 620 militants, 136 soldiers and police and 45 civilians have been killed in the ongoing fighting.