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Khulna mosques used as militants’ training camp

Khulna mosques used as militants’ training camp
Says suspect; JMB carried out attacks on cinemas in 2002
Star Report

Masud bin Ishaque, arrested in Khulna for suspected links to the August 17 serial blasts, yesterday confessed to having trained the Islamist militants in firearms and bombs in Khulna city.

Giving a confessional statement to the chief metropolitan magistrate in Khulna, he also said Ahle Hadith Andolan Bangladesh (Ahab) chief Dr Asadullah al Galib, Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) chief Abdur Rahman, and some other militant leaders had met him in Khulna on numerous occasions in the last three years to discuss the training programme for the militants.

Masud further disclosed that JMB was also responsible for the bomb attacks on circus and cinemas in 2002.

He, However, denied his involvement in the countrywide blasts, reports our Staff correspondent from Khulna.

Masud used to give training to the militants in the mosques in the city and Rupsha upazila in the dead of night while Rahman, Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai, and Tareq Sani, another top JMB leader, would monitor the programme, said a source quoting from the confessional statement.

Sometimes the three would train the youth how to hurl grenade and bombs on the enemies.

A leader of Jama’atul Moslemin, Masud was sent to Khulna district jail yesterday after his statement was recorded amid tight security in the court area.

Detective Branch of Khulna Metropolitan Police (KMP) produced him before the magistrate on completion of a 12-day remand. Masud is said to be an Indian national and a homeopath by profession.

He was arrested in Khalishpur area in the city on September 2 in a case filed under the Explosive Substances Act.

RAJSHAHI AND NATORE
Our Staff correspondent from Rajshahi reports: Abdus Samad alias Abdul Awal, who managed to evade capture during Saturday’s raid on a militants’ den in Natore, used to control the JMB activities in Rajshahi division.

He chaired the August 14 meeting in Natore where the order for the August 17 blasts was issued, sources said.

Law enforcers believe Abdus Samad alias Abdul Awal is the son-in-law of fugitive JMB chief Abdur Rahman.

Investigators consider his slipping through the police dragnet on Saturday as an ‘irreparable loss’. The law enforcement authorities have beefed up security in and around Natore, deploying additional forces.

Shahidullah Faruk, the JMB man arrested in Tanore on Friday, told police that during the August 14 meeting he had opposed the idea of staging blasts in the name of Islam.

Faruk, the section chief of Chapainawabganj JMB Dayee, was held with huge bomb-making materials and firearms.

“Awal told the meeting that it is the order of our ameer [Rahman] and we must abide by it. We won’t be able to get away alive if we don’t follow the order,” Shahidullah told police during a preliminary interrogation.

He also said like him, there are a number of JMB leaders who do not subscribe to the notion of carrying out terrorist acts in the name of Islam. He said they have been involved in the violence campaign rather by fear of life.

In another development, the six JMB militants held in Natore and Tanore of Rajshahi in last two days were sent to Dhaka last night to be placed before the joint interrogation cell (JIC).

Local investigators said the primary interrogation suggests that those six militants are likely to be the ‘most potential source’ to give away important leads regarding the militant network and its funding process in Rajshahi division.

Four Natore militants — Hafizur Rahman, Hasibul Islam, Abdul Matin and Shihabwhile on a 10-day remand have admitted to have links to the near-simultaneous blasts.

Two Rajshahi militants — Shahidullah Faruk and Abul Kashem Tufan–were placed on a six-day remand each yesterday in two cases filed against them in arms and explosives acts. They were shown arrested in the Chapainawabganj blast case.

Hasibul of Burirbagh in Naldanga told police that his real name is Delwar Hossain Mithu and his father is Fazlar Rahman of Halti Kholabaria of Natore sadar.

Matin and Hafizur said they were known as Ismail and Noman since the day they had joined the extremist group. Matin was arrested in Bagmara in connection with Yasin murder early this year.

Matin widely known as Bomaru Matin joined JMB after Bangla Bhai had started his vigilante movement against outlaws in Bagmara last year. During Bagmara operations, Bangla Bhai had sent him for training on arms and bombs.

Rajshahi police yesterday petitioned for Akhtarul Islam to be placed on a 10-day remand. A metropolitan magistrate will hear the remand prayer today.

Akhtarul was held on Saturday on suspicion of being the finance adviser to the militants. He has already admitted his involvement with the militant linchpin Dr Galib’s Ahle Hadith Andolon Bangladesh, while denying his links to JMB.

CASE FILED
Police filed a case against the four Natore militants for obstructing government officials’ during raid on their den at Mirpara.

They were also implicated in the case for August 17 bomb blasts.

Four policemen including ASP Ruhul Amin were injured as the militants beat them with “special short sticks” when they were raiding the militants’ rented house at Mirpara early Saturday.

ANOTHER JAMAAT LINK
The house owner’s son Shariful Islam said local Islami Chhatra Shibir worker Mamun introduced Rafikul and Anwar and asked him to rent the ground floor of the house to them five months ago.

Then the two men said their families would live in the house, but no signs of family living were found there after the raid.

FRESH ARRESTS
Police arrested nine suspected militants in Rajshahi, Manikganj, Joypurhat, Laxmipur, and Tangail districts yesterday.

Rajshahi police last evening arrested Sabbir Mahmud, son of Maolana Hussain Ahmad of Maijdipur at Senbagh in Noakhali, suspecting his link with militant activities.

He was arrested for illegally entering into Bangladesh from India.

He told police that he went to India a year ago after completing Dawra-e Hadith from Ashraful Ulum Rashidi Kawmi Madrasa at Mirpur-1 and Zamia Hussaina Al Zabat Kawmi Madrasa at Gabtali in Dhaka without a passport.

He was studying for higher degree at a madrasa of Chaharampur, Gango under Uttar Pradesh in India and being called by his father, returned to the country before Shab-e Barat, he said.

Police seized four audiocassettes of Urdu songs from him.

Police yesterday arrested Khelafat Majlish Manikganj district unit Organising Secretary Abdul Baten, 48, from Palora Bazar in the district suspecting his link with the serial blasts, reports our Manikganj correspondent.

Baten is a teacher of Al Markajul-run Khadija Binte Khoalif Mahila Madrasa at Awrangabad in the district.

Police and intelligence officials were interrogating him at Manikganj Sadar Police Station last evening.

Police arrested two JMB activists from Jamalganj of Akkelpur upazila in Joypurhat on Saturday night suspecting their involvement in the August 17 blasts, reports UNB.

The arrestees are Idris Ali, 56, and his son Abdul Jabbar, 27, hailing from Rukindipur village in the same upazila.

Police caught the two following the confessional statement of another JMB activist Mozammel Huq Chapal, who was arrested earlier.

Meanwhile, Abdur Razzak and Ershad Hossain, two of the 14 people arrested from Sabujbagh-based colour CD press from where the JMB leaflets distributed on August 17 were printed, are being quizzed by the JIC in the capital.

News agency UNB adds: Police arrested four suspects, including a madrasa principal, in Laxsmipur yesterday.

They are Principle of Noor Mohammad Norani Madrasa Maulana Emranul Atahar, Abdur Rahim, Shahjahan and Ismail.

Quoting a police official UNB Laxsmipur correspondent said leaflets, books on jihad, and letters of outlawed Harkatul Jihad were recovered from the arrestees.

UNB’s Tangail Correspondent said a JMB man identified as Faisal was arrested in village Tenguria in Kalihati yesterday.



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