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4 October, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Top HuJI leader, 2 more militants held in Dhaka

Staff Reporter, Dhaka

The Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) have arrested a top militant leader of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B) and two other members of the banned outfit, police said yesterday. DMP deputy commissioner (media and public relation) Masudur Rahman said the three were arrested by Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) personnel from Khilkhet in Dhaka’s Nikunja-2 area on Wednesday. According to the CTTC, the arrested militant leader, Md. Atiqullah alias Zulfikar, 49, had recently returned to the country in order to reform HuJI-B.

The other arrestees are Nazim Uddin alias Shamim, 43, secretary of the outfit’s Dhaka city south unit, and Md Borhan Uddin, 45, in charge of the outfit’s Feni unit. They were currently trying to re-integrate over the Kashmir issue and Rohingya situation. CTTC said they had information that HuJI men gathered at a playground near a mosque called ‘Boro Mosjid’ at Khilgaon for a secret meeting. They raided the site and arrested the three.

Also yesterday, a Dhaka court remanded the arrestees to four days in police custody for interrogation. During primary interrogation, it was learned that Atiqullah was the organising secretary of the 1996 committee formed by HuJI chief Mufti Hannan. He was later put in charge of the

outfit’s foreign relations. During the time of the last caretaker

government, he had fled to Saudi Arabia via Dubai. He also went to Pakistan several times for organizational activities.

According to CTTC sources, HuJI-B was established in 1992, reportedly with assistance from Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front (IIF). On April 30, 1992, several HuJI-B leaders had addressed a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka and demanded that Bangladesh be converted into an Islamic state.

Before 2004, the outfit was found responsible for at least 18 grenade and bomb attacks, the first of which was the 1999 attack on an Udichi programme in Jashore. The government had then banned the militant outfit on October 17, 2005.

Investigators said Atiquallh fled the country in 2006 during an anti-militancy crackdown, following Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh’s bomb attacks in 2005. He also fought with a militant group in another country. In 1998, he returned to Bangladesh and started working for the outfit.

Since its founding, the group has been responsible for the deaths of over 100 people in various terrorist attacks. It has been known to support the Rohingya insurgency in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

It allegedly has ties with Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) and Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO).

During interrogation, Atiquallh said he went to Afghanistan with a 42-member team from a Pakistani madrasa. He allegedly had meetings with wanted militants in Afghanistan. The HuJI-B reportedly received financial assistance from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

During interrogation, it was also learned that Atiquallh is an Afghanistan returnee soldier and expert on bombs. After hiding in foreign countries for long, he returned back to Bangladesh this March and contacted his old members of the organisation. He tried to get new members and restarted several activities of the organisation. He tried to collect money from different sources.

He has contact with other militant organisation of Pakistan, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. During the Afghan war, he had contacts and met with Mollah Omar, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Al Jawahiri.

The HuJI-B has been accused of twice plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in July 2000.

During routine checks on July 20, 2000, security forces had recovered around 76 kg of explosives planted near the places Hasina was scheduled to visit in Gopalganj district.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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