SOURCE: Express News Service

Security agencies are trying to verify Islamic State’s (IS) claim that a Malayali engineer, who joined the terrorist organisation, has become a ‘martyr’ while fighting in Libya. The reference to the Keralite appeared in an IS document titled ‘Know your martyrs’, which says Abu Bakr Al-Hindi was a Christian who embraced Islam while working in the Gulf. The document says he is the first ‘Istishhadi’ (suicide bomber or ‘martyr’ in an attack) from India to be killed on the African continent.

The IS document, unlike in the case of other Malayali cadre who were killed in Syria and Afghanistan, did not mention Abu Bakr’s real name. There is no clue about his other whereabouts either, except that the person was born in a rich Christian family ‘where there are many engineers.’IS says Abu Bakr was working in Bengaluru before moving to the Gulf.

Agencies yet to identify Keralite killed in Libya

“That was the first time he was in a complete Muslim environment,” said the document. He was introduced to Islam through a pamphlet handed over to him while he was shopping at a market. “He was shocked to know that Muslims believe in Jesus and respected him,” said the document adding that Abu Bakr wanted to know more about Islam.

The speeches of late American rabble-rouser Anwar Al-Awlaki radicalised him and led him to the IS. Abu Bakr wished to do hijra (migration) like other Malayalis who had joined the IS, but he had to come back to India as his contract with the company in the Gulf expired. The IS handlers asked him to go to Libya where its activity was going strong. “As he was an engineer and his passport had Christian name, he flew easily to Libya,” said the document. Three months after reaching the country, Abu Bakr was killed in an operation.

Security agencies have not yet identified the person. It is not known either as to when the incidents referred to in the document took place. Security experts had warned that the IS may shift their operations to Africa after the elimination of their strongholds in Syria and Afghanistan. Though many Keralites who had joined the IS did hijra to Syria and Afghanistan, this is for the first time Libya is coming in the picture.

IS had declared formation of Wilayat (province) in Libya in 2014 and many foreign fighters had been dispatched to the country. IS claimed that its cadre from Kerala had taken part in many ‘Istishhadi’ operations in Afghanistan including the attack on Gurudwara in Kabul and a prison in Jalalabad last year.