Suspect wanted by Malaysian Police, Muhammad Muzaffa Arieff Junaidi, 27 from Rantau Panjang links with IS believed to have escaped to Southern Thailand. (courtesy by Thai police)

RANTAU PANJANG: A LOCAL man linked to the Islamic State and suspected of having escaped to Thailand recently is believed to be among
the hundreds of smugglers operating along the Kelantan-Thai border.

“The man, who is wanted by police, is believed to be part of a group of smugglers selling firearms to IS militants in the country.

“His work takes him to southern Thailand and Kelantan regularly, especially to Sungai Golok,” said sources.

They said the man, identified as Muhammad Muzaffa Arieff Junaidi from Kampung Gertak here had been travelling to the border town to get the supply of firearms either through checkpoints or illegal jetties dotting the border areas.

“He will cross over there regularly, either alone or accompanied by other smugglers, to get firearms from their Thai suppliers.

“Sometimes, he will make the deal (of selling firearms) there in the border town and sometimes, he will cross over back to Rantau Panjang with the firearms,” said sources.

They also revealed that the suspect was believed to have fled to Thailand on March 22 following a crackdown by Malaysian police and was said to be hiding somewhere in the subprovince.

Thai security sources, meanwhile, confirmed that the 27-year-old suspect entered the country regularly.

“Our authorities had checked with the Immigration Department in Sungai Golok recently and records showed that the last date Muhammad Muzaffa Arieff Junaidi had entered Thailand was on Feb 10 and he left on
Feb 15.

“Records also showed that the same person left Thailand on April 21, a few days before Malaysian police conducted the crackdown on suspects with links to IS, but there is no record of him entering Thailand,” said the security sources.

They also revealed that the suspect had underwent regular checks like other tourists during his latest departure from Thailand at the Immigration complex at Sungai Golok on April 21.

It was reported last week that six individuals, including two women, were arrested in five states earlier this year over suspected ties to the IS. 

The federal police Special Branch’s counterterrorism division said the six were picked up between March 24 and April 25 in Kelantan, Selangor, Melaka, Johor and Penang.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said two men, aged 24 and 41, were nabbed in Kelantan on March 24 and 25, and were involved in the smuggling of weapons from southern Thailand for the use of IS militants in Malaysia.

Muzaffa Arieff is said to have links with the duo.

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