Local I.S. recruiter Wanndy put on U.S. list


Wanndy, Indonesian comrade prime targets for law enforcement agencies worldwide

WASHINGTON has slapped a sanction on Malaysian Islamic State militant group leader in Syria, Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi, who has been recruiting fighters and sourcing funds for the global terror group.

The United States Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed the same sanction on Wanndy’s Indonesian comrade, Muhammad Bahrun Naik Anggih Tamtomo.

Wanndy is now wanted under the Specially Designated Global Terrorists list (SDGT), which makes him a high-profile target for law enforcement agencies worldwide, alongside the world’s most notorious terrorists. The list also has in it the names of Malaysians, including Yazid Sufaat and Zulkifli Hir, who was believed to have been killed by Philippine security forces in 2015.

SDGT lists individuals who have committed or pose a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism, or provided support to terror groups designated under OFAC Counter Terrorism Sanctions programmes.

Wanndy and Bahrun were added to the list for their involvement in funding and providing operational support for IS not only in their countries, but also channelling support to the group in Syria.

The men were among seven more people recently added to the list.

Wanndy, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Hamzah Al-Fateh on Facebook, ridiculed the sanction, but said he would be more cautious about his movements and communications.

Wanndy, who remains high on Bukit Aman’s wanted list, had coordinated attacks and provided material support to IS fighters in Malaysia, including in launching a successful attack on the Movida nightclub in Puchong in June.

The men who carried out the attack using a hand grenade, following orders from Wanndy, had been sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment.

Sources dealing with Malaysian fighters in Syria said as one of the senior leaders of IS’s Khatibah Nusantara (the Malay-speaking arm of the IS), Wanndy had also been acting as the middleman in facilitating the swearing-of-oath process, by his fellow countrymen, to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The oath of loyalty, also known as Baiah, is no longer required to be done in the presence of the IS leader. It would be just as “valid”, the sources said, for new recruits to pledge their oath of loyalty via social media applications, such as Telegram.

One of the sources with sound knowledge of Malaysian IS supporters’ operations revealed to the New Straits Times that among those who had allegedly sworn their allegiance to Abu Bakr, with Wanndy’s help, was 29-year-old Siti Noor Aishah, who is currently being detained at Kajang Prison.

She, the source said, had allegedly sworn against turning away from Abu Bakr and IS, on several occasions.

“Probes into her case strongly suggested that she had allegedly pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi several times via Telegram with Wanndy serving as her witness,” the source said.

“Though many criticised her arrest, calling it an ‘abuse of power’ and ‘violation of human rights’ intelligence gathered by the police is, however, telling a different story,” the source said.

The source said besides allegedly having pledged her loyalty to IS, Siti Noor Aishah was allegedly found to had been an active participant in a Telegram group comprising members of a local IS cell.

“Nine members of the group are being detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) for two years at the Simpang Renggam prison in Johor. Three are being held under the Prevention of Crime Act (POCA) and nine more have been charged under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma).”

Siti Noor Aishah, the source said, was also allegedly planning to flee to Syria to fight alongside IS.

“Her alleged plan was thwarted following her arrest, after her father, Atam Jusoh, lodged a report when he sniffed her out before she could join the group in Syria.

“This was why she had to be fitted with the electronic monitoring device... The Crime Prevention Board had agreed to this as there was a strong basis for it, especially after taking into consideration her father’s report.

“Probes showed that Siti Noor Aishah had allegedly planned to obtain a fake identification card with the help of her former lecturer, Dr Mahmud Ahmad, (now based in the southern Philippines and leading IS militants based there).”

Siti Noor Aishah, who studied Usuluddin at Universiti Malaya, was arrested on March 22 last year for allegedly having in her possession books related to terrorism.

The materials, which promote the Salafi Jihadi ideology, are adopted by terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiah and IS. They are in the process of being fully banned in the country.

“These books have nothing to do with her studies as her research was on Aqidah (faith)... The books were also passed on to her by Najib Hussein (IS’s bomb maker from Malaysia who was killed by the Philippine military on Basilan Island).

“These books contained elements that could incite violence as they were written by terrorist leaders such as Abu Bakr, Aman Abdurrahman (IS leader in Indonesia) and Ayman Al-Zawahiri (al-Qaeda),” the source said.

Siti Noor Aishah was charged at the Kemaman magistrate’s court on April 19 last year before her case was transferred to the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Mohamad Shariff Abu Samah, however, acquitted and released Siti Noor Aishah after the court found that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case.

The deputy public prosecutor, however, later ordered for Siti Noor Aishah to be re-arrested under POCA.