Singapore has repatriated two Indonesian maids who were “radicalised” by Islamists using social media, bringing the total number of such cases to 9 since 2015, the second minister for home affairs has said. Authorities in the city-state said last month they had detained the first Singaporean for suspected Islamist radicalism as concern grows about the spread of the Islamic State group in Southeast Asia.
The government has reiterated over the past year that the small, wealthy island nation is a target for Islamist groups and has urged the public to be alert.
Minister Desmond Lee told parliament on Tuesday the two maids, aged 25 and 28, did not have plans to carry out any violence in Singapore and were not known to have influenced their friends in the country.
“Similar to the earlier cases, both of them were ISIS supporters, radicalised through social media,” Lee said after lawmakers asked for an update on the threat posed by radicalised foreigners in Singapore.
Singapore said late last year it had deported nearly 70 foreigners, including five maids, for suspected radicalism over the previous two years.
Authorities in neighbouring Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population, said last year they had arrested six Indonesian suspects with links to Islamic State who were plotting an attack on Singapore.
Worries over the rise of Islamic State were heightened by the capture of Marawi City in the southern Philippines island of Mindanao by Islamist militants in May. Security forces are still trying to recapture the town, seized by a local militant group that had drawn foreign fighters to its ranks.