Two 'IS operatives' held in Moreh

Assam Rifles report says duo changed statements frequently

By Khelen Thokchom in Imphal
  • Published 18.03.17
The duo in police custody. Telegraph picture

Imphal, March 17: Two suspected operatives of Islamic State (IS) were apprehended by Assam Rifles near Moreh along the Indo-Myanmar border in Manipur on Tuesday, police sources said.

A local court today remanded the duo in police custody till March 23. They are in Moreh police station.

The IS suspects were apprehended at Khudengthabi checkpost, about 100km south of Imphal along the Asian Highway 2 (Indo-Myanmar road) on Tuesday around 3.30pm. The duo were travelling towards Imphal.

The arrested persons have been identified as Nainamohamad, 56, and I. Abubacker, 46, both residents of Chennai.

According to a report given by 12 Assam Rifles to Moreh police, the IS suspects revealed that they left Chennai on March 9 on Howrah Mail and reached Calcutta. They left Calcutta on Kanchenjungha Express and reached Dimapur on Saturday and finally to Imphal and Moreh on Sunday, the report said.

They said they have visited Moreh to meet their aunt Hamida on business. The duo also said this was their second visit to Moreh since 2016.

On inquiry from Tamil Sangam, an organisation based at Moreh, it was found that the duo are not related to anyone in Moreh and nobody by the name of Hamida exists in the town, the report said.

During detailed investigation, it was found from the CCTV footage at Khudengthabi checkpost that the two were travelling from Moreh towards Imphal on March 9. Hence, the possibility of them taking the train from Chennai on the same day is impossible, the report said.

On checking their mobile phones, it was found that the duo have contacts in Dubai, Sri Lanka and Qatar. They claimed to be poor but having various contacts of foreign nationals is a matter of suspicion, the report said.

The individuals were travelling by air in contrast with their statement of travelling by train. A slip of a transaction in Chennai dated March 11 given in handing/taking over some documents was recovered, which is again contradictory to their statements of travelling on Saturday.

In addition, Abubacker also had a reservation on an Indigo flight on Tuesday which he did not board. These individuals are suspected to be IS agents, the report said.

The individuals have continuously changed their statements and could not answer properly about the purpose of their visit to Moreh. It was also found that the duo were in possession of foreign SIM cards that include those from Dubai, Singapore and Sri Lanka, the report said.

They also had various international numbers saved on their mobiles and were carrying international currency of countries like Cambodia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Kuwait and Qatar, the report said.

Sources said the duo frequently visited Moreh allegedly for smuggling.