One year after first terror attack in Malaysia, a victim remains in anguish

Police officers conducting investigations outside the Movida bar in Puchong, following a grenade attack, on June 28, 2016.
Police officers conducting investigations outside the Movida bar in Puchong, following a grenade attack, on June 28, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

PUCHONG - One moment, housewife M. Bavani was sitting beside her husband at Selangor's Movida nightspot to celebrate the second anniversary of their wedding, and the next, they were both covered in blood after Malaysia's first terrorist attack a year ago.

Ms Bavani, 33, told her story to the Free Malaysia Today (FMT) news website. She recalled the suffering she and her husband S. Jaiseelan went through following the June 28, 2016, grenade attack by two men on a motorcycle, who had pledged allegiance to terror group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Ms Bavani fractured her right hand. Her husband's right leg was bleeding profusely following the explosion, and doctors found a fracture on the same leg as well.

"I saw blood flowing from my fingers. I thought I had lost my fingers. But no, the blood was from my hand," Ms Bavani told FMT. "But at that moment, I could just thank my blessings that my fingers were intact and that we were alive."

She showed her scarred right hand with 17 stitches. A metal plate was inserted into her hand to mend the fracture she had suffered due to the explosion.

"I suffered so much. My mother used to help me with the dressing. The pain was excruciating," she told the website.

Eight people were injured in the attack on the nightclub in Puchong, at the edge of Kuala Lumpur, at about 2am. At that moment, there were about 20 people at the restaurant, many watching the live telecast of the Euro2016 match between Italy and Spain.

Counter-terrorism police later captured Jonius Ondie @ Jahali, 24, and Imam Wahyuddin Karjono, 21.

Both have been sentenced to 25 years in jail.

The attack was a first thought to be caused by gang rivalry, but Malaysian police later said it was carried out at the behest of ISIS. The attack was dictated by Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi, a 22-year-old Malaysian terrorist based in Syria. Wanndy, who was Malaysia's most wanted militant, was killed by a drone attack in Syria in April.

The Movida nightspot has long ago reopened.

But the danger for Malaysia is not over, as the Malaysian authorities have arrested more than 250 people between 2013 and last year for suspected militant activities linked to ISIS, and foiled several plots to carry out local attacks.

For Ms Bavani, she is still in anguish over that fateful night.

"If only we had gone somewhere else," she told FMT, adding: "No one would have guessed that there would be a bomb attack in Malaysia. This is not the US or Iraq where such events have taken place."