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RCMP charge Guelph man, 22, with terrorism offences

Last Updated Dec 6, 2019 at 3:17 pm EDT

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on April 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The RCMP has laid terrorism-related charges against a 22-year-old Guelph man

Ikar Mao has been charged with participation in the activity of a terrorist group and leaving Canada to participate in the activity of a terrorist group.

Details regarding what led to Mao’s arrest have not been released, but he was taken into custody this morning at an RCMP detachment near Pearson Airport.

Cpl. Louise Savard tells 680 NEWS Mao had previously been arrested by Turkish authorities for allegedly being a part of a terrorist group, in particular one called Daesh ISIS and was held in custody. No conviction was registered and he returned to Canada on October 19. She declined to say whether Mao was acquitted or whether authorities dropped the charges against him.

She said the force’s investigation into the case remains active, but did not say whether more arrests or charges are anticipated.

When asked whether public safety was ever at risk during the investigation, Cpl. Savard said “Safety measures were put in place early in the investigation to ensure public safety was not compromised.”

“I want to reassure the citizens of the Greater Toronto Area and all Canadians, that our primary focus is the safety and protection of the public at all times,” read a statement from RCMP Chief Superintendent Michael LeSage.

When asked about the charges against Mao on Friday, federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair also declined to weigh in.

“I am aware that the matter is being investigated thoroughly and independently by the RCMP,” he said, adding he would not comment on a case that is currently before the court.

With files from The Canadian Press