Singaporean ISIS fighter shown executing man in video

Singaporean Megat Shahdan Abdul Samad, identified as "Abu Uqayl the Singaporean" in Arabic words, surfaced in a propaganda video believed to have been posted last Friday, dressed in military fatigues. He was also seen in an ISIS clip in September.
Singaporean Megat Shahdan Abdul Samad, identified as "Abu Uqayl the Singaporean" in Arabic words, surfaced in a propaganda video believed to have been posted last Friday, dressed in military fatigues. He was also seen in an ISIS clip in September.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM VIDEO

In graphic clip, he and two other men are seen shooting three men at close range

A second propaganda video by terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) featuring Singaporean Megat Shahdan Abdul Samad has surfaced.

This time, he goes beyond rallying fighters to join ISIS, which is based largely in the desert along the Iraqi-Syrian border. In the graphic video, he and two other men dressed in military fatigues are shown executing three men by shooting them.

Shahdan, 39, was last known to have appeared in a 3 1/2-minute ISIS clip in September, in which he praised East Asian fighters, called for extremists to join the terror group's efforts in East Asia or the Middle East, and challenged Britain's Prince Harry to a fight.

The newly surfaced clip, which has been shared on social media and messaging groups, is more than eight minutes long. It shows footage of bombings and vehicle attacks, interspersed with scenes at places like stadiums and parties.

Towards the end of the video, Shahdan is featured speaking in English, telling followers to strengthen themselves and "slay the enemies of Allah wherever you can find them", before shooting a kneeling man.

Security experts who spoke to The Sunday Times believe the video to be authentic. It is believed to have been first posted on Friday.

STILL SUSCEPTIBLE

Singaporeans may think they are educated, but even people in this particular day and age, given exposure to extremist ideology, can be influenced to such an extent...

DR KUMAR RAMAKRISHNA, of RSIS on the dangers of being indoctrinated with extremist ideology.

When contacted yesterday, the Ministry of Home Affairs said it has "no further updates on this video".

It is the first known video of a Singaporean participating in an execution for ISIS, which suggests that Shahdan is in some kind of leadership role, said S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) senior analyst Jasminder Singh.

Dr Kumar Ramakrishna of RSIS said this latest development drives home in a very strong way the dangers of being indoctrinated with extremist ideology.

"Singaporeans may think they are educated, but even people in this particular day and age, given exposure to extremist ideology, can be influenced to such an extent... where they can so dehumanise other people not seen to be part of their circle that they can just murder them in cold blood," he said.

He added: "It shows why extremist ideology is so dangerous and has to continue to be countered."

Another man whom experts believe to be South-east Asian but not from Singapore is also featured in the video.

Mr Singh said this suggests that the South-east Asian fighters have most likely regrouped, as Shahdan did not appear with other South-east Asians in the previous video.

Shahdan, who had been a secret society member in Singapore with a string of drug and criminal convictions, went to the Middle East to work in 2014, where he was believed to have been radicalised. He later made his way to Syria to join ISIS.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said after the previous video was released that the Internal Security Department had been keeping tabs on Shahdan.

Professor Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research in Singapore, said the new video is specifically timed to incite attacks at New Year celebrations.

"At a time when ISIS is shrinking in its battle space in Iraq and Syria, it is sending a message that it is still capable of mounting attacks and terrorising the public," he said.

"With its core depleting and global expansion, ISIS will focus on propaganda in the coming months and years."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 31, 2017, with the headline 'Singaporean ISIS fighter shown executing man in video'. Print Edition | Subscribe