A young man from north Kerala’s Malappuram district who is suspected to have gone to Afghanistan and joined the Islamic State (IS) is believed to have been killed in a recent US drone attack.
Police officials identified the man as Muhammed Muhasin, a native of Edappal in Malappuram district. An engineering student, he has been missing since October 2017, the police said.
Police sources said Muhasin’s family got a message on WhatsApp on Tuesday, informing them about his death. “The message in Malayalam said, ‘your brother has been seeking martyrdom and Allah has fulfilled his wish. He has become a shaheed 10 days back,’’ according to an officer.
The message reportedly came with a warning that the incident should not be reported to the police.
An officer said that the message was accompanied by a photograph, ostensibly of Muhasin lying dead. “The family has identified him from the photo. But other than this message and photograph, we don’t have any official confirmation from anywhere,” the officer said.
The fact that the message was sent in Malayalam shows the presence of at least another person from Kerala in the group, according to the officer. “We have not identified the person who sent the message,” the officer said, adding that during the period Muhasin had gone missing another engineering graduate from Malappuram had also joined the IS.
Sources said Muhasin was not part of the “Kasaragod module” of the IS, in which an estimated 25 people, including children and women, reportedly left the country in June 2016 to join the IS. Security agencies had later found that most people in that group had reached the IS-controlled Nangarhar region of Afghanistan.
Another group of at least 35 people from the coastal state’s Kannur district had migrated to Syria to fight for the IS, according to police officials.
A source in the police said, “Muhasin had initially gone to Dubai and then joined the IS. He went missing in 2017 while studying engineering. His family had filed a missing complaint with the local police in Malappuram.”
Local residents of Vattamkulam, near Edappal in Malappuram, said Muhasin came from a middle-class family, which has no orthodox leanings. “He was introvert and aloof. The only son in the family, Muhasin has two sisters, both of them students,’’ a local resident said.