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“Former members of Islami Chhatra Shibir now lead neo-JMB”

30 July 2017 No Comment

Report in bdnews24.com, July 29, 2017 at 21.01 hrs
Former members of the Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing now lead neo-JMB blamed for last year’s cafe attack, says the counterterrorism chief.

The investigation into the nation’s worst terror attack is almost complete with the arrest of a key suspect, Deputy Inspector General Monirul Islam told reporters on Saturday.

Early Friday, police arrested Aslam Hossain alias Rashedul Islam in the northerwestern district of Natore.

Hossain, who also used the alias ‘Rash’, belongs to the Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh or JMB’s revived faction, known as the neo-JMB, said police.

On Saturday, police implicated him in the Gulshan attack case and took him into custody for six days to interrogate after producing him before a Dhaka court.

Top counterterrorism officer Islam said Rashed was recruited to the neo-JMB by Islami Chhatra Shibir or ICS leader Shariful Islam Khaled, involved in the murder of a Rajshahi University teacher. ICS is the student affiliate of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

Police have been blaming the ICS for militancy, which the student body dismisses as government propaganda.

Islam said on Saturday that an initial interrogation of Rashed indicated a feud between neo-JMB factions led by Ayub Bachchu and Hadisur Islam Sagar.

Rashed was expecting a top position in the group after the death of Canadian-Bangladeshi Tamim Chowhdury, one of the masterminds of the cafe attack.

Bangladesh witnessed its deadliest terror attack when five gunmen stormed the upscale Holey Artisan restaurant inside Dhaka’s diplomatic district on Jul 1 last year.

The overnight siege of the Gulshan café left 20 diners dead, 17 of them foreigners. Two senior police officers died during the operation. The gunmen were eventually shot dead by commandoes.

“Rashed, who played a key role in organising the attack, was expecting a top post after Tamim was killed, but his spirits were dampened when Moinul Islam Musa became neo-JMB’s chief,” said the top counterterrorism officer.

He established close links with Hadisul Islam Sagar, brother-in-law of neo-JMB leader Nurul Islam Marzan, a perpetrator of the cafe attack. Marzan was killed in January in what the police said was a ‘shootout’ in Dhaka.

Earlier this month, police said it needed to capture five terrorists before submitting the chargesheet for its investigation.

Of the five, the arrest of Rashed, Soheil Mahfuz, and Basharuzzaman aka ‘Chocolate’ was vital, Islam had said earlier.

Then on Jul 8, Soheil Mahfuz, suspected of supplying grenades used in the café attack, was arrested from Chapainawaganj.

Police, after the arrest, were able to confirm the deaths of Basharuzzaman and Chhoto Mizan in an earlier raid on a terror hideout in the same district in April.

With Rashed in custody, only Hadisur Rahman Sagar from police’s list remains at large.

Islam told the media on Saturday that intelligence inputs suggest that Sagar has not been able to leave Bangladesh.

The younger of two children of Naogaon’s Abdus Salam and Nasima Begum, Aslam Hossain was expected to sit the HSC exams last year from Rajshahi Model School and College.

His mother Nasima Begum told bdnews24.com on Friday that Aslam developed a rapport with militants when he was staying at a hostel in Rajshahi.

His family moved him to the house of his aunt from the hostel in the same city after sensing his links with militants during Ramadan in June last year.

Family had inklings of Rashedul’s terror path

He moved to Dhaka from Rajshahi last year and was introduced to Tamim Chowdhury by ICS leader Khaled, according to the counterterrorism chief.

It was Rashed, who took two of the cafe attackers Mir Samih Mubashir and Rohan Imtiaz, to a Mirpur house after they left home.

“He was supposed to be take part in the Holey Artisan attack, but was dropped as Tamim Chowdhury wanted him for another operation,” said Islam.

Rashed was part of the unit led by Soheil Mahfuz, which was responsible for bringing in the arms and explosives used in the Gulshan attack.

He lost contact with Tamim following the anti-terror raid in Dhaka’s Kalyanpur, four weeks into the cafe attack, when nine suspected militants were shot dead by security forces, said DIG Islam.

He said the interrogations of several suspected militants revealed that Rashed was trying to revive the neo-JMB by regrouping activists of the ‘old JMB’.http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2017/07/29/former-members-of-islami-chhatra-shibir-now-lead-neo-jmb-counterterrorism-chief-says

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