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The BBC's Frances Harrison
"They expect more arrests to follow"
 real 28k

Thursday, 6 July, 2000, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Malaysian gunmen surrender
Police roadblocks
Police set up roadblocks around the area
An Islamic sect which killed two hostages after stealing a massive haul of weapons from the Malaysian army has surrendered.

The defence minister said all 27 gunmen had given themselves up. Five were taken to hospital, including two who were seriously injured. The other 22 are in police custody.


The gang had been besieged by thousands of troops at a jungle hideout in the northern state of Perak since stealing more than 100 weapons from an army camp on Sunday.

Before surrendering they killed two of their three hostages; at least one of them was a policeman.

Raid

Police chief Norian Mai said the gunmen were from a group called the Al-Ma'unah, an Islamic brotherhood that promotes martial arts.

Police believe they were led by a disgruntled ex-army captain.

A suspected gang member is arrested in Perak
A suspected gang member is arrested in Perak

Inspector Norian said the group were motivated by "religion and the creation of an Islamic state according to their beliefs".

Al-Ma'unah grew from an Indonesian martial arts group but now has no links with overseas organisations or any local political parties, he added.

Hostages

The four-day crisis intensified early on Thursday when two members of the group sneaked away from the camp and surrendered.

They told authorities that two of the three hostages taken during the stand-off had been killed and buried, Inspector Norian said.

One of the captives was killed on Tuesday and the second on Wednesday in retaliation after two gunmen were wounded in clashes with soldiers.

Members of Al-Ma'unah training
The gunmen belonged to a Muslim group called Al-Ma'unah

At least one of those killed was a police intelligence detective. Of the three hostages, two were police detectives and one was a farmer.

Malaysian defence minister, Najib Tun Razak, said the two gunmen had surrendered because they were disillusioned. Both were said to be middle-aged professional chefs.

Late on Wednesday night, the wives of two of the gunmen and three children were taken to the site to plead with them to give up.

Stand-off

The gang sparked a major security alert on Sunday when they raided two army camps in by impersonating military officers.

The group then went into hiding in a remote area near the northern border with Thailand.

Since then there had been a tense stand-off between the gunmen and about 1,000 members of the security forces with sporadic exchanges of fire between the two sides.

The Malaysian Government originally suspected the gunmen had stolen the weapons to sell on the black market.

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See also:

05 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysian arms gang attacked
04 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysian arms gang take hostages
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