KUALA LUMPUR - Wanted militant Dr Mahmud Ahmad was apparently involved in militancy since the 1990s.
Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division head Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ayob Khan said, at 36, the former Universiti Malaya lecturer was a veteran militant, having trained with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in the late 1990s while he was studying in Pakistan.
"Once he became a university lecturer, he recruited and sent four Malaysians to Syria.
"Prior to joining UM, he used his position as a lecturer at a private college to lure students into militancy," he told The Star yesterday.
He added that in January last year, Dr Mahmud managed to arrange a meeting between the region's militant leaders to form the Daulah Islamiyah Asia Tenggara.
"He then followed up by meeting with al-Qaeda elements at a house in Shah Alam in April 2014," he said.
Sources revealed that Dr Mahmud was responsible for instilling extremist ideology and convincing Ahmad Tarmimi Maliki to become the first Malaysian suicide bomber.
"Ahmad Tarmimi's suicide bomb attack killed 25 special forces personnel in Iraq last year," one source said.
Dr Mahmud along with his two accomplices - sundry shop owner Mohd Najib Husen and Selayang Municipal Council employee Muhammad Joraimee Awang Raimee, 39 - fled to southern Philippines on April 22 last year.
It is learnt that the three were also responsible for smuggling three East Turkmenistan Islamic Movement fighters to southern Philippines.
Another source revealed that Mohd Najib could be described as Dr Mahmud's right-hand man and closest confidant.
"Mohd Najib is also instrumental in arranging various meetings with other militant groups at the behest of Dr Mahmud," the source said.
The source added that the sundry shop owner had vast experience in militancy and provided Dr Mahmud with the necessary links to other militant groups, including those from Indonesia.