Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 2 Issue: 8

On April 22 the Singaporean Ministry of Home Affairs announced it had arrested and detained for two years a member of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) under the Internal Security Act. According to the Singapore daily the Straits Times, The detainee, Jahpar bin Osman had trained in weapons-handling and bomb-making in the southern Philippines island of Mindanao, and was planning a spate of bomb attacks in the city-state. This puts the present tally of detainees in Singapore up to 36, with 17 more under restriction orders [].

Singapore’s vigilance to Islamist activity dates from 2001 when it unveiled a plot to bomb American-linked targets and key installations on its territory. It has considered itself a prime target due to its role as an ally of the U.S. in the war against terror. However, even without the link, Singapore, with its majority Chinese population and concentrated wealth, has been a target of hardline Islamists in the region, who consider its very existence an anomaly to its neighborhood and an obstacle to plans for a regional Islamic state, and have been trying to stir up conflict between the city-state and Malaysia.

The plots to level Singaporean landmarks in 2001-2002 were uncovered when U.S. special forces discovered reconnaissance videos of the city in the ruins of post-Taliban Afghanistan. The videos featured Islamist operatives casing areas and buildings frequented by Westerners. Since that discovery, Singapore has been in an effective lockdown, as it remains concerned about Jemaah Islamiyah members in neighboring countries re-activating the bombing plans.