ISIS posts video of Singaporean fighter in Syria, security agencies monitoring his activities

In the video, Abu 'Uqayl is seen firing off a round on a truck-mounted artillery gun, with the caption reading "power is shooting".
In the video, Abu 'Uqayl is seen firing off a round on a truck-mounted artillery gun, with the caption reading "power is shooting". PHOTO: FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The first known ISIS recruitment video featuring a fighter from Singapore has surfaced on social media, and the Ministry of Home Affairs confirmed on Sunday (Sept 24) that security agencies have been monitoring his activities.

The Ministry identified him as Megat Shahdan Abdul Samad, 39.

It said he left Singapore in 2014 to work in the Middle East, where he was believed to have been radicalised.

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

The video was released by Al Hayat Media Centre, the media wing of terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and shared by sympathisers of the group from South-east Asia. It shows a fighter dressed in desert fatigues and identified as "Abu Uqayl from Singapore".

In the 3min 30second-long video, seen by The Straits Times, a group of three fighters, including Abu Uqayl, 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 by social media sites SMRT Feedback and observer+.

It is believed to be part of a series of videos titled Inside the Caliphate. Earlier videos have sought to appeal to Muslims in South-east Asia to migrate to Marawi in the southern Philippines to fight for ISIS.

Speaking to the camera in English with a South-east Asian accent, Abu Uqayl praised fighters in "East Asia" - which includes South-east Asia - and called 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 this year to promote social causes.

"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 hell fire."

In the video, Abu Uqayl is seen firing off a round on a truck-mounted artillery gun, with the caption reading "power is shooting".

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

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.

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

Mr Shanmugam added that so far, ISD has moved early to deal with those who showed signs of radicalisation in Singapore.

"Over time, we must assume more of this will happen. We have to think of ways of dealing with radicalisation of Singaporeans, that could take place outside Singapore, particularly in countries where the possibilities of radicalisation are higher," he added.

It is estimated that over 1,000 South-east Asians have travelled to the Middle East to fight for ISIS. Among them are at least two other groups of Singaporeans.

One, Haja Fakkurudeen Usman Ali and a manager in a Singapore supermarket, was 37 when he took his wife and three young children in early 2014 to Syria, where they are still thought to be.

The other, a Singaporean woman living in Malaysia who has not been named, was 47 when she went to Syria that same year with her 37-year-old Malaysian husband, and her son and daughter from a previous marriage.

ISIS had set up a South-east Asian unit, Katibah Nusantara, which groups fighters from the region and produces propaganda videos mainly in Malay and Bahasa Indonesia. But it has also been active in producing videos in English.

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