KUALA LUMPUR: Police in Muslim-majority Malaysia have seized a huge cache of weapons at the home of a religious sect leader, said a report Wednesday that suggested the group was preparing for armed confrontation.
The Star said police in the southern state of Malacca on Saturday also arrested the "reclusive" 46-year-old spiritual leader of the sect, which claims on its blog that members are "warriors of righteousness and crusaders of truth".
The leader's name was not given.
Malacca state police chief Chuah Ghee Lye confirmed to AFP only that one man had been arrested at the home in Malacca. He declined all further comment on the case, saying a press conference would be held on Thursday.
"Come tomorrow and we will show you all the weapons," he said.
Police had been monitoring the sect for weeks, The Star said, and moved in at the weekend. No resistance had been encountered, it said.
At the Malacca home, police seized dozens of swords, axes, daggers, hundreds of bows and arrows, spears, several fake guns, and 23 canisters of gunpowder, the newspaper said.
They also found gas masks, medicines for injuries, military-style camping gear and other equipment, it said, citing police.
Local villagers were quoted as describing the sect leader as an "Imam", the Islamic term for a spiritual leader.
However, neither the press report nor police gave any indication of the religious beliefs of the sect.
The newspaper cited a villager living near the house as claiming that the "holy weapons" would fly by themselves when instructed to "fight the enemies of mankind".
It also quoted locals as saying the sect appeared to be some sort of doomsday cult.
Authorities in Malaysia keep a wary eye out for religious radicalism and have over the years broken up a number of Islamic sects labelled as deviant.
More than 60 percent of the country's population of 28 million are Muslim ethnic Malays.