ISD keeping tabs on Singaporean fighter in ISIS video

In the ISIS recruitment video, Megat Shahdan Abdul Samad identifies himself as "Abu Uqayl from Singapore".
In the ISIS recruitment video, Megat Shahdan Abdul Samad identifies himself as "Abu Uqayl from Singapore".

The first known ISIS recruitment video featuring a Singaporean fighter has surfaced on social media, and the authorities say he has been on their radar for some time.

He was identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) as Megat Shahdan Abdul Samad, 39.

He left Singapore in 2014 to work in the Middle East, where he is believed to have been radicalised, MHA said in a statement.

"He subsequently made his way to Syria to join ISIS' ranks. He is believed to still be with ISIS in Syria," it added yesterday.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said in a Facebook post that the Internal Security Department (ISD) had been aware of Megat Shahdan's activities, and had spoken to community leaders about him.

The video was posted by Al Hayat Media Centre, a media arm of terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and shared by its South-east Asian supporters.

 

It shows a fighter dressed in desert fatigues, who identifies himself as "Abu Uqayl from Singapore". ISIS fighters commonly take on assumed names.

In the 3min 30sec-long video, seen by The Straits Times, a group of three fighters, including Megat Shahdan, are loading artillery rounds onto a truck in what is believed to be ISIS-held territory in the Middle East. The video was first flagged on social media sites SMRT Feedback and Observer+.

It is part of a series of propaganda videos titled Inside The Caliphate. An earlier video appealed to South-east Asian viewers to migrate to Marawi in the southern Philippines to fight for ISIS.

Speaking to the camera in English, Megat Shahdan praised fighters in "East Asia" - which includes South-east Asia - calling on them to "sacrifice all that is precious".

He then urged extremists elsewhere to join the East Asian fighters, or to travel to the Middle East to fight with ISIS fighters there.

He also addressed Britain's Prince Harry, who visited Singapore in June, saying: "To Harry, you come to Singapore and tell such stories to gain sympathy for the London terror attacks? Why don't you come here and fight us if you are man enough? So we can send you and your Apaches to hellfire."

Referring to the video, Mr Shanmugam said: "We expected this will happen some time."

He added: "Over time, we must assume more of this will happen."

He said Singapore had to think of ways to deal with the radicalisation of its citizens abroad.

ST understands that Megat Shahdan has previous drug-related and criminal convictions.

The ministry also urged anyone who is in contact with him or knows of anyone in touch with him to report it to the authorities.

It said: "The Government takes a very serious view of anyone who supports, promotes, undertakes or makes preparations to undertake armed violence, regardless of how they rationalise such violence, or where the violence takes place."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 25, 2017, with the headline 'ISD keeping tabs on S'porean fighter in ISIS video'. Print Edition | Subscribe