The terrorism suspect who allegedly plotted to behead the Prime Minister was a Canadian soldier for four years and likely received weapons training.
The Toronto Star has learned that Steven Vikash Chand was a member of the Royal Regiment of Canada, a reservist unit that meets in Toronto.
Chand, who later converted to Islam and went by the name Abdul Shakur, is charged with belonging to a terrorist group, receiving training and recruiting or training others to participate in terrorist activity. The charges partly involve allegations that Chand and eight other suspects spent five days last winter in a remote field in Washago, Ont., to participate in terrorist training.
Cmdr. Denise Laviolette confirmed yesterday that Chand was once in the military, but sought to dispel any suggestion that the 25-year-old was a well-honed soldier. Instead, she described Chand as a reservist who was absent for much of his time in uniform and completed few of the qualifications required for infantry soldiers….
Chand’s lawyer, Gary Batasar, stunned the courtroom by revealing that his client and the 16 others are accused of being involved in a “detailed terrorist plot,” which included plans to storm the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, take political hostages, harm hostages if Canadian troops did not withdraw from Afghanistan, and to attack media outlets including the CBC.
Relying on a synopsis provided by government lawyers, Batasar indicated that Chand was also alleged as a suspect “likely to behead Prime Minister Stephen Harper.”…
Laviolette confirmed it’s likely Chand received some training on the C-7 assault rifle, the mainstay weapon for Canada’s frontline soldiers that can fire up to 940 rounds a minute, and perhaps the Browning 9 mm pistol, as well.
The regiment website boasts that its soldiers are trained in how to use rifles and pistols, explosives and pyrotechnics, missiles and grenades, unarmed combat and “employ … battle procedures including camouflage and concealment, internal security, patrol, escape and evasion tactics.”…
Sometime after leaving the military, Chand began hanging out near the Salaheddin Islamic Centre in Scarborough, playing sports with some of the youths and becoming interested in Islam, the centre’s imam, Aly Hindy, said yesterday.
Hindy said while he did not know Chand well, he did instruct him during a few sessions about Islam.
A mosque member who knew Chand, Mohamed Ally, said Chand visited schools to help troubled youths find religion.
“He’s innocent,” he said. “He’s very humble, peaceful brother.”
Of course. Ally knows the script well.