JERTEH: Pieces of the Sky Kingdom crumbled to the ground after a group of armed men wearing masks and robes broke into the commune at dawn yesterday, tossing petrol bombs and setting tyres ablaze at several of its structures.
Hours later, over 100 people gathered at a junction leading to the place, holding placards denouncing cult leader Ariffin Mohamad. The police moved in and dispersed the crowd.
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No casualties were reported in the two incidents at the commune in Batu 13, which has 35 houses and is the dwelling place of about 150 followers.
The sect’s leader, known as Ayah Pin to his followers, was said to be elsewhere during these incidents.
Witnesses said the mob stormed into the commune by breaking down the iron gates and leaping over the wall fencing.
They threw 30 car tyres into the yard and set them on fire.
They also flung Molotov cocktails at the structures, causing several explosions.
Among the damaged structures were a boat replica said to symbolise Noah’s Ark, a crescent moon structure and at least 30 circular lights lining the garden pathway.
The mob also chopped down a tree, damaged numerous flowerpots and set fire to a four-wheel drive vehicle said to belong to Ayah Pin.
The windscreens of several other vehicles were smashed and the doorway of the so-called kingdom’s meeting hall was also torched.
Witnesses said the incident happened at between 4am and 5am when most of the occupants were asleep.
The intruders destroyed all four telephone lines in the commune, they added.
Later, at 9.30am, more than 100 people staged a protest against the deviant group and denounced its leader.
About 20 policemen from the General Operations Force moved in quickly to block off the road leading to the area and dispersed the crowd.
Terengganu police chief SAC I Hussin Ismail said the police were investigating the case.
The commune’s liaison officer, Rosli Abdul Samad, said Ayah Pin had left the commune on Sunday afternoon without telling anyone where he was going.
Rosli said several members of the sect were on guard duty at the time of the incident and several others rushed into the compound when they heard the explosions.
“They backed away from the attackers to avoid a clash,” he said, adding that the losses could total RM500,000.
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