Malaysia’s Militant Headache

©Luke Hunt
Malaysian Special Forcesgo through a drill at Semporna. File Picture by Luke Hunt

FAR EAST CORRESPONDENT — Tawau is a quiet little place – and possibly the remotest city in Malaysia. Tucked away near the Indonesian border in the state of Sabah, it’s well known in diplomatic circles as a Malaysian transit hub between Indonesia and the Southern Philippines.

It’s also a favorite stop over for pirates, smugglers, mercenaries, illegal workers and the Darul Islam movement, whose roots can be traced back to Indonesia’s independence almost 65 years ago. Since then, Darul Islam has spawned a litany of Muslim militant groups like Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).

Most who pass through continue on, but some stay to stock-up on supplies, reload and plan for another day as authorities found out when 13 suspected terrorists were arrested in Tawau last month under the Internal Security Act. Read more in The Diplomat.

 

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Luke Hunt is a foreign correspondent, author and occasional photographer who has covered much of Asia fr the last 30 years.

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