SINGAPORE - A Singaporean youth has been detained and another arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for terrorism-related activities, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday (May 27).
The MHA said in a statement that one youth has been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for terrorism-related activities since April 2015. And in May 2015, another Singaporean youth was arrested under the ISA for further investigations into the extent of his radicalisation.
According to the statment, M Arifil Azim Putra Norja'i was detained under the ISA for terrorism-related activities in April 2015. Investigations showed that Arifil, a 19-year-old post-secondary student, had made plans to join the terrorist group "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)".
The statement said Arifil's radicalisation began around 2013 after he started viewing terrorist propaganda online. He grew to support the radical ideology and violent tactics of ISIS, and befriended individuals online whom he thought could help him join ISIS. He had actively surfed the Internet for information on travel routes to Syria so that he could engage in armed violence there, and had done research online on making improvised explosive devices, according to the ministry.
Arifil also revealed that if he was unable to join ISIS in Syria, he intended to carry out violent attacks in Singapore. He gave considerable thought to how he would attack key facilities and assassinate government leaders. The statement added that if he was unable to carry out these plans, he planned instead to carry out attacks in public places "in order to strike fear within our society", using easily available weapons such as knives.
Arifil is the first known self-radicalised Singaporean to harbour the intention to carry out violent attacks in Singapore, according to the MHA.
Arifil's intention to carry out violent attacks in Singapore were subsequently corroborated by several persons who said that he had tried to recruit them to help carry out these plans. Investigations showed that while these persons did not fall prey to Arifil's attempts to recruit them, they also did not alert the authorities about Arifil.
The ministry added that another person who knew Arifil noticed the changes in him, and had brought him to the attention of the authorities, who were then able to investigate the matter and take action before he could carry out his violent attack plans in Singapore.
In May 2015, another radicalised Singaporean post-secondary youth, aged 17, was arrested under the ISA for further investigations into the extent of his radicalisation, said MHA. His family was informed of his arrest, and will be kept informed of the outcome of the investigations.