KOCHI: The NIA investigation into the Islamic State (IS) links of Non-resident Keralites (NRKs) found that a Koduvally native with his family had reached till Istanbul airport to join the terrorist group in 2017. Shaibu Nihar alias Abu Mariyam was grilled by the NIA recently in which details of IS sympathisers among NRKs were revealed.
Shaibu was intercepted from Qatar by the Interpol after which he was forced to return to India. On his arrival at Calicut airport, he was arrested by the NIA last month. In the interrogation, Shaibu revealed he along with seven other members working in Bahrain had decided to join the IS. The agency suspects they were frequent visitors to Al Ansar Salafi Centre in Bahrain where they were radicalised.
“After the formation of the IS, the members of the Bahrain module wanted to move to Syria. Apart from Shaibu and one Ashraf, all other members of the module successfully reached Syria with their families. Shaibu made two attempts to reach Syria. In December 2016, he received a visa to Turkey, but could not dispose of his advertising firm at Bahrain. Later, on July 28, 2017, he along with family reached Istanbul airport. However, the Turkish authorities deported them to Bahrain. Even after the investigation was launched against the module, he continued to remain in contact with IS operatives and supported them,” sources said.
Shaibu of Thamarassery; Mansoor of Kondotty; Mansoor of Vadakara; Shahnad of Kannur; Fajid Hamsa of Koilandy; Ashraf Moulavi of Vaniyambalam; Safeer Rahman of Perumbavoor, and Muhadis of Vaniyambalam are the members of the module. Of this Shahnad, Manzoor of Kondotty, Mansoor of Vadakara and Muhadis were reportedly killed in Syria.
“There were attempts to attract Keralites working in Middle-East countries to IS ideology. The exact number of Keralites who joined the IS while working in Middle-East countries is yet to be ascertained. The interrogation of Shaibu has helped us in getting details of IS propaganda activities among NRKs,” an officer said.
After the IS operations in Kerala was busted, Shaibu moved from Bahrain to Qatar. However, he kept in touch with other IS operatives who left for Afghanistan and Syria. The NIA investigation revealed Shaibu maintained contacts with Rashid Abdullah alias Abu Isa, Asfak Majeed, Tasleem K O P alias Abu Bilal and Abdul Manaf alias Abu Fathima.
The NIA found Shaibu handed over 3,000 Bahrain Dinar to Safeer Rahman, another member of the module, to reach Syria. Similarly, he also gave financial assistance to Muneer of Thalassery. Muneer was arrested by the police in Saudi Arabia for propagating IS ideology.