A week after the Kerala police arrested three former Popular Front of India (PFI) members from Kannur for their alleged links with the Islamic terror outfit ISIS, the police have now released photographs of five more people suspected to be actively involved in Jihadi activities in Syria.
The Special Investigation Team that is probing the IS operations identified the suspects as Abdul Khayyum (25) resident of Chekikulam near Kuttiattoor, Abdul Manaf (30) resident of Valapattanam, Shabeer (33) resident of Mooppanpara in Valapattanam, his relative Suhail (25), and Safwan (18) resident of Pazhanjirapally in Pappinissery.
Kannur DSP P P Sadanandan, who is leading the investigation team, said, “A total of 15 persons in Kannur are found to have established IS links. Five of them are dead, we arrested another five last week. On Thursday we could release the identities of the rest who are now in Syria.”
The police officer added, “The families of four of the suspects, including women and children, are also in Syria. We are trying our best to get them back to the country, but Syria is a terrorist state, therefore it’s a tough task.”
The officer also confirmed that this is the third such reported incident of IS links in the state. The team was able to release the identities of the rest of the gang after thorough interrogation of the five IS suspects in custody. The police also confirmed that all the suspects while in Kannur had close ties with PFI.
According to a report in Indian Express, the police said that Shabeer met Midhilaj and Abdul Razack, members of the Shajahan group, at Istanbul and tried in vain to take them to Syria. Later Abdul Manaf, Shabeer and Suhail travelled to Syria using a fake passport. Khayyum went to Syria on April 18, 2017. The police also said that Safwan is the son of Shameer who was killed last week.
Although the senior police official confirmed to TNM that Safwan took his family members, including the women in the family to Syria, the officer did not reveal more information, citing that the investigation is ongoing.
With the interrogation in full swing, the police are confident that they will be able to uncover more details of the IS operations in the district. DSP Sadanandan said, “All the five whose identities have been revealed are now in Syria roaming free in the streets. It will be a tough task for us to get them back as Syria is a terror state. We are confident and will continue to fight against the IS menace in the state.”