An Indian and three Bangladeshis were among five foreigners arrested in Japan Wednesday for suspected links with a member of the Al Qaeda, report agencies.
The arrests came after daylong raids on 10 homes and offices across various prefectures. The raids followed reports last week last week that Lionel Dumont, a Frenchman of Algerian descent linked to the al Qaeda network, had entered the country several times since on a false passport.
Those arrested were Ahmed Faishal, 26, a Bangladeshi employee of a prepaid cell phone sales firm residing in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture; Kane Yaya, 41, a Malian living in Tokyo's Shinjuku-ku; Syed Naseer Syed Gaffar, 32, an Indian man living in Gunma Prefecture; and Islam Mohamed Himu, 33, the Bangladeshi head of the cell phone sales firm, from Toda, Saitama Prefecture. Another 29-year-old Bangladesh national was arrested for violating the immigration control and refugee recognition law by overstaying, said the Mainichi Shimbun daily.
As for Gaffar, "We are aware of reports about his links to the French person and will try to find more about it through our investigation", an official was quoted as saying.
Local media reports said Dumont, 33, had lived in Niigata prefecture with his German wife from July 2002 until September 2003, and travelled frequently to Malaysia and Germany. Dumont and his Pakistani colleagues sold used cars to Russia and North Korea during his stay in Niigata, said Asahi Shimbun.
Dumont was arrested in Germany in December and extradited to France earlier this month.
"We have information that an al-Qaeda-linked individual had contacts with various people in the country and was engaged in certain activities. What is important for our nation's security is that we prevent an international terrorist organisation from operating," chief cabinet secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said Wednesday.