The dreaded Islamic State terrorist group has been attempting to recruit lecturers in Malaysia and Indonesia who are highly skilled in weapons and explosives, Malaysia’s deputy home minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed warned here today.
“They (IS) thought their movements could not be traced but the Malaysian Police managed to curb their activities,” Nur said, commenting on a report in a local daily on a plan to set up an official Islamic State faction for South-East Asia led by Mahmud Ahmad, a former lecturer with the University of Malaya.
Nur warned the plan was a major threat for Malaysia. Mahmud was reported to be seeking to set up the South-East Asian Islamic State organisation, by uniting terrorist cells in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. “They profess the ideology of Middle East terrorists who are more extreme and more violent, such as the IS militant group,” Nur said.
He called for monitoring the internet saying it was their main medium of communication where directives are sent out. “Suitable tools are also needed as the terrorists attack in small groups and are difficult to trace,” he added.
The Star newspaper last week said that Mahmud, who is reported to be hiding in the southern Philippines, was believed to be planning to carry out attacks in several countries, including Malaysia. Meanwhile, Malaysian Counter Terrorism chief Ayob Khan too warned that wanted Malaysian IS militants hiding in southern Philippines were planning to form an “official” IS faction in south east Asia.
Malaysia and Indonesia are both muslim majority countries. The region’s IS faction is also planning to unite different terror cells in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, Ayob said, adding it could include the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and other terror groups in the region. Ayob said Mahmud, also known as Abu Handzalah, was actively training with the ASG as well as taking part in terror operations in the southern Philippines.
“His ultimate goal is to officially form the South-East Asian IS,” Ayob said. “He has performed the baiah or the oath of allegiance on video but to form the South-East Asian cell of IS, Mahmud has to travel to Syria and swear his allegiance in front of IS supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. We discovered through intelligence sharing that going to Syria is his priority now,” he said.