Authorities in Singapore said Wednesday that they had arrested without trial a 16-year-old student who made elaborate plans and preparations to launch “terrorist attacks” on two mosques with a machete. The Internal Security Department said the Singaporean teen was motivated by an Australian gunman who massacred 51 worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand in 2019. The teen was arrested in December, and became the youngest terror suspect to be held under the country’s Internal Security Act, it added.
The department said its study had found that the boy was working alone and had intended to strike two mosques near his home on March 15, the second anniversary of the Christchurch attack. Just like the gunman in that attack, he decided to live-stream his act by strapping mobile phones to a vest, the statement said. It said he also prepared two statements to be issued just before the attack.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K.Shanmugam has stated that the authorities do not intend to charge the teen as he was underage and hadn’t carried out the act. But he said it was disturbing as it considered the first case of extremists targeting Muslims in the Southeast Asian nation. Authorities said the teen will undergo a rehabilitation process involving religious, psychological, and social counseling.
Giving further details, the department stated the teen had searched various options including obtaining a firearm online, building a bomb, and using gasoline to extinguish the mosques. He later decided to use a machete and had studied how to sever the main arteries of his victims.
One of the statements he prepared referred to his planned attacks as a “massacre,” an “act of vengeance” and a “call for war” against Islam, authorities said. The department said the teen was willing to die during the attack and his family and others close to him had no idea about his plans.