KUALA LUMPUR • Two members of the Black Crow, a previously unknown ISIS terror cell in Malaysia, were deported back to the country after they were caught trying to enter Syria from Turkey last week.
Police said the duo, a 29-year-old technician and a 24-year-old labourer, were given about RM5,000 (S$1,640) by Malaysia's most-wanted militant, Mohamad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi, to travel to Syria.
The technician from Muar in Johor had even obtained a RM20,000 personal loan prior to his one-way trip to Syria. The young labourer is from Miri, Sarawak.
Malaysian police's counter-terrorism head, Deputy Commissioner Ayob Khan, told The Star newspaper that initial investigations revealed that Syria-based Mohamad Wanndy had contacted the two via the messaging application Telegram.
Both suspects, said Datuk Ayob, were members of Mohamad Wanndy's Gagak Hitam, or Black Crow, terror cell.
"It is not surprising that members within the terror cell do not know each other. It's one way to limit the chances of all of them getting caught," he said.
"However, we must always be one step ahead of them where intelligence is concerned."
Mohamad Wanndy, 26, is believed to have masterminded the bombing of a bar in a Kuala Lumpur suburb in June that injured eight people.
It was the first successful terrorist attack on Malaysian soil.
The two recruits first made contact with Mohamad Wanndy in the middle of last year.
Mr Ayob said the two Malaysians were trying to enter Syria but were stopped by Turkish authorities on Oct 28 and deported a day later.
The duo had opted to fly to Istanbul from Bangkok, deeming it a safer route although it costs more.
"Once they reached Istanbul, Mohamad Wanndy then directed them to Facebook as a form of communication.
"They were ordered to stay in Turkey for a while as Mohamad Wanndy made arrangements for their safe passage into Syria," Mr Ayob said.
With the latest arrests, a total of 257 Malaysian militants have been detained since 2013.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK