KUALA LUMPUR - They were our own. And their presence in a video showing the beheading of a Syrian man by the Islamic State speaks of the growing influence of the militant movement.
It is the first time that police have confirmed the presence of Malaysians during IS killings in Syria.
The two Malaysians seen in the video have been identified as 20-year-old Mohd Faris Anuar from Gurun in Kedah and 25-year-old Muhamad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi from Durian Tunggal in Malacca.
The 30-second video showed a man in a black-and-gray striped shirt sprawled on the ground with his head severed.
"Eh, take one picture," says Muhamad Wanndy in Bahasa Malaysia as he crouched over the body.
"Ah. Video, video. Video! Ah. Want picture, wait for a while," says Mohd Faris who is handling the camera.
Muhamad Wanndy then poses and flashes his right index finger, smiling into the camera.
Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division principal assistant director Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ayob Khan released their photographs and that of Muhamad Wanndy's 26-year-old wife, Nor Mahmudah Ahmad from Baling, Kedah at a press conference yesterday.
The video, uploaded to the Facebook account of Abu Hamzah Al Fateh on Feb 22, was apparently meant as a "lesson" to spies who betrayed Islam.
SAC Ayob said the video was taken by Mohd Faris based on the voice heard in the clip.
He said Muhamad Wanndy was the owner of the Facebook account of Abu Hamzah Al Fateh.
Muhamad Wanndy, who is unemployed, is in Syria with his wife Nor Mahmudah.
The couple travelled there on Feb 26.
"Intelligence revealed that they travelled from Kuala Lumpur. They took a flight to Moscow and then travelled by land via a train to Istanbul before heading to Syria," he said.
Mohd Faris made it to Syria on Sept 22.
Both men are believed to be part of the new wing of Malaysian and Indonesian militants identified as Majmu'ah al Arkhabiliy.
SAC Ayob said the release of the video by police was not aimed at scaring the public but to show the implications of Malaysians joining the IS and going to war-torn Syria.
"Our new information on the activities in Syria revealed that there were Malaysians who were present at the slaughter. This is the first time we are able to determine their presence during such killings but we could not determine the extent of their involvement.
"If they can slaughter captives, who's to say that they wouldn't do that when they come back?" he asked.
"The video is clear indication of the involvement of Malaysians in the slaughter of innocent people," SAC Ayob said.
"We want to show the depth of their cruelty. It is clearly not the rightful jihad IS claimed it to be," he said.
While it was the first evidence of Malaysians involved in beheadings in Syria, SAC Ayob said other Malaysians have been involved with the slaughter of people, citing cases from 2007 and 2011.
Another militant, identified as an Indonesian, is seen holding the decapitated head, shouting "Allahuakbar".
The beheading of the man, whom the IS claims to be a spy for the Assad regime, was carried out by a man said to be an Arab militant.
SAC Ayob said that in 2007, two Johoreans who were arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for being Jemaah Islamiah (JI) members took part in the killing of several security officers in a neighbouring country.
In 2011, two Darul Islam members in Sabah were involved in the slaughter of a Christian hostage in southern Philippines, he added.
"Their ideology is the same as the IS, JI, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram. Even if we are Muslims, they would kill and slaughter us if we're not part of them.
"Even their families are not spared by them. This is what we're worried about," SAC Ayob said.