Four persons from Kerala’s Kasaragod district, including a child, who all travelled to Afghanistan two years ago, are said to have been killed there.
They had reportedly joined the Islamic State terror group, and died in U.S. bombing attacks.
Elcy Vincent, step mother of two missing Keralites who were suspected to have joined the IS — Bexen and Bestin Vincent — received a message on March 22 that four members of the 21-member group, which had travelled to Afghanistan, were killed a few days ago.
Those said to be dead have been identified as Mohammad Mansad, Shihas, his wife Ajmala and their child. Shihas and his family were natives of the southern Kerala coastal hamlet of Padanna, while Mohammad hailed from nearby Thrikkarippur.
The message was sent by Ashfaq Majeed on Ms. Vincent’s Telegram account. Majeed, who was also part of the group had last year sent a message to B.C. Rehman, a relative of Mohammad Hafeezuddin, another absconding youth who was killed in a drone attack in 2016, that Vincent was killed in a fight with the American forces. He later messaged Ms. Vincent in September that he was alive.
A senior government official said they had no way of checking the authenticity of these messages and they would wait for more details to emerge.
Another Kerala resident, Murshid Mohammad, is also said to have been killed in drone attacks in 2016.
On April 18 last year, a Afghanistan-based news agency had claimed that 13 Indians were killed in the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) attack by the U.S. military in Achin district of Nangarhar province but the claims were neither corroborated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) nor the family members. Mainly comprising defectors from Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP), the Wilayat Khorasan of Islamic State in Afghanistan came into existence in 2015.
A report quoting a top Kerala police official and the NIA reaching Kasaragod on Friday confirmed the deaths but did not specify when the local persons had been killed.
( With C.S. Narayanan Kutty in Kasaragod )