ISIS camps training children to kill

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's counter-terrrorism chief said yesterday that the authorities were aware of two training camps set up by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group to train young children, with one of the camps possibly involving Malaysian children.

At a seminar on the threat of ISIS militants yesterday, Bukit Aman Special Branch counter-terrorism division head Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the camps - which are currently training some 500 children - are based in Kazakhstan and Syria.

"They have just established two camps specifically to train children. The youngest are two-year-olds," he was quoted as saying by The Star. "They are teaching the children how to use firearms... the children are being brainwashed into performing false jihad (religious wars) when they're older."

Datuk Ayob said the authorities also learnt that Bahasa Indonesia was among the languages used to reach out to those from South-east Asia. He added that while the police had no information that Malaysians were involved, "we are not discounting the fact that there could be Malaysian children there".

The police do not have figures on the number of Malaysians believed to be involved, due to the difficulties of obtaining intelligence from Syria, the Malay Mail Online reported him as saying.

So far, no Malaysian families have planned to send their children to the camps, he said. However, he added that some Malaysian families who migrated overseas to join ISIS could have joined the camps.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2015, with the headline 'ISIS camps training children to kill'. Print Edition | Subscribe