From ostracised teen to terrorist recruiter

Muhammad Wanndy was identified by police as the mastermind behind the ISIS attack last week on a nightspot in Puchong, Selangor. The 26-year-old fled to Syria with his wife last year.
Muhammad Wanndy was identified by police as the mastermind behind the ISIS attack last week on a nightspot in Puchong, Selangor. The 26-year-old fled to Syria with his wife last year.PHOTO: NOR MAHMUDAH AHMAD/ FACEBOOK

PETALING JAYA • A 26-year-old Malaysian whose father is named "Jedi" is now among the most wanted men in the country after police identified him as a mastermind who "commanded" at least four men to attack a nightspot in Puchong, Selangor, last week.

Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi, who grew up in a small village in the Durian Tunggal area in Malacca, related in one Facebook post - since closed to outsiders - what his teenage years were like. "Ten years ago, I was the blacklisted kid in my kampung. Parents would not allow their children to be friends with me," The Malay Mail newspaper quoted him as saying.

"Yes, I was naughty, bad… but Allah has blessed me with many friends and understood my flaws," he said, referring to his current life as a recruiter of Malaysian terrorists via social media.

Muhammad Wanndy said he himself had been recruited on Facebook and received help via social media in getting to Syria, the paper said. He fled to Syria with his 26- year-old wife on Jan 26 last year.

The pub Movida was attacked by two men on a motorcycle who threw a grenade from a highway at about 2.15am last Tuesday, injuring eight people, in the first successful attack by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the country.

Police have since nabbed 15 people, including the two attackers. They are looking for two other men believed to be closely linked to the case.

Muhammad Wanndy got on the radar of Malaysian intelligence after it was learnt that he was planning to launch attacks in the country, The Malay Mail said.

He has been seen in several videos released by ISIS, including one on Feb 22 last year when he beheaded a Syrian man.

The paper reported that in the video, Muhammad Wanndy had declared: "This is a punishment for a spy who betrays Islam... a lesson to all."

A Facebook account with his assumed name still exists but is no longer open for public viewing. But excerpts of his statements still circulated among those who follow militant ideology on social media, the report said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2016, with the headline 'From ostracised teen to terrorist recruiter'. Print Edition | Subscribe