Investigations by India’s premier anti-terror probe agency, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), has revealed that many Indians were in alleged contact with an Islamic State recruiter and motivator based in Philippines. The agency is believed to have interacted with the recruiter to go into details about the Indians involved.
An Inspector General-led team of NIA visited Manila between April 24 and April 28 to question Karen Aisha Al Muslimah alias Karen Aisha Hamidon, identified as a recruiter and motivator. The agency said in a statement that they have got leads about suspected Indians who were in touch with her and were looking forward to joining the Islamic State.
“The questioning of Karen Aizha Hamidon y Abuan by NIA officials has resulted in confirmation of several facts revealed during the investigation and also provided significant leads about her associates in India, who were active online, to propagate the ideology of the ISIS and also about a few Indians residing abroad who have helped her financially. The leads obtained are being investigated,” NIA said in a statement.
It was during the interrogation of Mohammed Naseer, a Tamil Nadu techie, by the agency that Hamindon’s name sprang up. Naseer was deported from Sudan in 2015, when he made an attempt to reach Syria to fight for the ‘Caliph’. Naseer told the agency that Hamindon influenced him to join the IS.
According to sources, Naseer came in contact with Hamindon through a WhatsApp group, ‘Islam Q&A’, reportedly run by Hamidon. Also part of this group were Mohammed Sirajuddin, who was arrested on December 10, 2015, a Sharjah resident named Yusha Kashmiri and an Indian named Salman Munabbar.
According to the NIA, Hamindon was running different Facebook pages, WhatsApp groups and Telegram channels for motivating, radicalising and instigating her online associates from different countries including India to fight on behalf of ISIS in conflict zones. She was also in telephonic contact with many other Indian nationals, the agency said in its statement.
The questioning of the aforesaid accused and data retrieved from the digital devices seized from them at the time of their arrest had revealed the name of one Karen Aizha Hamidon y Abuan @ Karen Aisha Al Muslimah @ Karen Aisha Hamidon, a resident of Manila, Philippines, the NIA said, adding that Hamildon was one of the most active ISIS operatives based in Philippines between 2014 and December 2015.
“She was running different Facebook pages, WhatsApp groups and Telegram channels for motivating, radicalizing and instigating her online associates from different countries including India to fight on behalf of ISIS in conflict zones. She was also in telephonic contacts with many other Indian nationals,” the NIA statement reads.
The investigation is significant and is a part of the measures India has deployed to check the spread of Islamic State in the country. NIA reached Philippines after making requests under Letters Rogatory, issued by the Special Courts of NIA, and was forwarded through proper channels to the Competent Judicial Authority, Philippines, seeking legal assistance in the investigation.