KUALA LUMPUR: All the 15 Islamic State-linked militants arrested over the bomb attack at the Movida Nightclub in Puchong, including the two policemen, were from Kedah.
In fact, 30 arrested militants were from the northern state, which was also the base for former PAS leader and Internal Security Act detainee Mohd Lotfi Ariffin who died while fighting in Syria on Sept 14, 2014.
Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division head Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ayob Khan said they were aware of the fact but insisted the state was not a factor.
“Unlike Jemaah Islamiyah, the IS spread their teachings through social media.
“They rely less on usra (talks) and more on technology to communicate and indoctrinate their followers,” he told The Star yesterday.
While the JI elements were mainly operating from Johor, Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Sabah, SAC Ayob revealed that IS recruitment was much more widespread.
Since 2013, Perak has the most number of arrested militants at 33.
Among the other arrests were 28 in Kuala Lumpur, Johor (20), Negri Sembilan and Selangor (13 each), Kelantan (11) and Sabah (10).
“Unlike JI, the IS fooled their followers into believing that they were ‘reuniting’ Muslims under the salafi Jihadi teachings. They would select certain verses from the Quran to recruit followers,” he said.
Lately, more Malaysian militants are in the forefront of the IS struggle with some putting up videos threatening Malaysian authorities and the Government.
“The videos are meant for them to show their so-called might and relevance within IS.
“However, I feel it is more of a recruitment drive,” he said.
The videos included one which showed the terror group’s goal of setting up a nusantara IS involving Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
“However, they lack the ability to be fully operational in the region given our constant enforcement effort,” he said.
The fear was that the number of Malaysians joining IS could be increasing, added SAC Ayob.
He said since 2013, 229 militants had been detained, including 29 foreigners, while 90 Malaysians were known to have gone to Syria, of which 21 have died and eight have returned.
“IS targets troubled people, who are easily swayed with their own twisted version of Islam,” he said.
Among the foreigners detained, 15 were from Indonesia, five from Iraq, and two each from the Philippines and Russia.
On fugitive militant Dr Mahmud Ahmad, who fled to southern Philippines, SAC Ayob said he was still in Basilan.
“We believe he was responsible for several articles published in the IS newsletter Al-Fatihin. He is expanding the IS propaganda through his writings,” he said.