Victim still in anguish a year after terror attack

The Movida nightclub in Puchong, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, being cleaned after the grenade attack on June 28 last year. Two men have been sentenced to 25 years in jail for the attack, which left eight people injured. PHOTO: REUTERS

Woman recounts the pain she and husband suffered after first militant strike in Malaysia

PUCHONG • One moment, housewife M. Bavani was sitting beside her husband at Selangor's Movida night spot 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, recalling the suffering she went through with her husband S. Jaiseelan following last year's June 28 grenade attack by two Muslim men on a motorcycle, who had pledged allegiance to terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

She 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 count 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.

"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, on the edge of Malaysia's capital city Kuala Lumpur, at about 2am. At that time, there were about 20 people at the restaurant, many watching the live telecast of the Euro 2016 football match between Italy and Spain.

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

Both have been sentenced to 25 years in jail.

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

The danger for Malaysia is not over, as the 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.

Ms Bavani is still anguished about why they had gone to Movida that 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."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2017, with the headline 'Victim still in anguish a year after terror attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe