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Islamist militants plotting against government

25 Feb 2016

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The Daily Sun in its issue of February 15 carried headline news that some Islamist militant organizations have formed an alliance styled as ‘Hilful Fuzul Al Islam Al Bangladesh’ in a bid to overthrow the democratic government headed by Sheikh Hasina and establish Islamic rule.

The alliance created a huge network of funds, arms and training centering around Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban. A conspiracy has been hatched to implement their plan within the next year by weakening the government through subversive activities.

 

The report further states that the alliance wants to subdue the government by committing sabotage at strategic points and important installations. They have undertaken a two-year programme to achieve their goal.

 

Jamaat, the fountain head of Islamic fundamentalism, is known for its links to JMB that carried out coordinated bombings in all 64 districts nationwide in 2005. Authorities have raided hide-outs and arrested several JMB suspects, including some believed to have been active in Jamaat within the last several years.
According to an investigative media report based on intelligence inputs, the organizations that are active in this Jihadist alliance include Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami (HUJI), Hizb-ut-Tahrir, Hizb-ut-Tawhid, Ansarullah Bangla Team, Shaheed Amza Brigade and Dawat-e-Islam.

 

Information disclosed by the former JMB chief Saidur Rahman after his arrest in 2010 reveals that the Jihadist groups had decided to form a common platform for waging Jihad to usher in Taliban-like Islamic revolution in Bangladesh and turn the country into another Afghanistan. It was further revealed that these ultra rightist groups constituted 'Jihadist Grand Alliance' which plans to launch offensive on Western interests in Bangladesh. He said, ‘rulers in the Muslim nations are puppets in the hands of United States. We are gaining strength to launch offensive on this country. Our initial plan is to target Western missions, establishments and individuals in Bangladesh’.

 

Saidur Rahman, during interrogations, admitted his links with Al Qaeda and getting financial assistance. He also confessed his links with Yemen based Al Qaeda. In 2008 a Yemeni citizen named Ahmmad, during his visit to Dhaka, offered to help JMB in purchasing land in inaccessible hilly areas, deep forests and coastal belts beyond reach of security forces for running organizational activities, setting up training camps and storing arms and ammunition. Subsequently, in a drive in Khagrachari hill area on September 26, 2009 a JMB training camp was unearthed and few JMB militants were arrested by RAB.

 

Jamaat, the fountain head of Islamic fundamentalism, is known for its links to JMB that carried out coordinated bombings in all 64 districts nationwide in 2005. Authorities have raided hide-outs and arrested several JMB suspects, including some believed to have been active in Jamaat within the last several years.

 

The Middle East based IS which recently tormented Paris by gun and bomb attacks that killed over 100 people, announced recently that it has found a regional commander in Bangladesh. A November 2015 article in Dabiq, the IS mouthpiece, calls JMB “a proper jihad organization”, prompting speculations of an alliance. Titled “The Revival of Jihad in Bengal,” the article signaled for the first time the militant organization’s designs on Bangladesh and said it had named a regional leader in the country.

 

Security forces have recently seized huge stockpiles of explosive materials, broke up numerous terrorist cells and apprehended scores of JMB militants. The arrests and seizures bear witness to JMB’s wide-spread reach and presence in Bangladesh.

 

 Two foreigners were recently killed. On September 28, 2015 Italian national Cesare Travella was killed in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone. Soon after, on October 3, Japanese national Kunio Hoshi was shot dead in Rangpur. Moreover, a series of killings of progressive bloggers and publishers alarmed the people of Bangladesh. Those killed included bloggers Avijit Roy, Niladri Chattopadhyay Niloy, Ananta Bijoy Das, and Washiqur Rahman, and publisher Dipan. Several others were injured in attacks in Dhaka and Sylhet. Prof AKM Shafiullah of Rajshahi University and another professor of Dhaka University were also killed in 2014. These killings were reportedly masterminded by JMB militants.

 

A twitter account named ‘Ansar Bangla 7’ run by Ansarullah Bangla Team, another offshoot of Jamaat with known links to Al Qaeda, has also claimed responsibility for these killings. The investigations in to the killings are incomplete and the killers are on the run. Hundreds of activists of the Jihadist groups, mostly experts in making bombs and operating sophisticated arms, still remain fugitives.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police Additional Commissioner Monirul Islam said that although the militants of Bangladesh are domestically organized there is no guarantee that they would not be involved in Jihad or massive subversion with the help of foreign militants.

 

The Jihadist groups are continuing various forms of instigative propaganda through some newspapers and periodicals in Bangladesh with the aim of attracting attention of Madrassa students in the country, and finally recruiting them as Jihadist cadres. Qaumi madrassas are breeding grounds of Islamic terrorists in Bangladesh. Several newspapers and periodicals such as Monthly Rahmat , Daily Al-Baiyiniyat, Daily Al Insaniyat and Daily Al Ihsan, which receive generous funding from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and some  West Asian countries, are amongst the publications engaged in whipping up religious passion among the youth and instigating them by eulogizing terrorist activities of Al Qaeda,Taliban and IS and supporting Jihadist ideology.

 

Security analyst Brig Gen (retd) Abdur Rashid said that although Al Qaeda or IS does not work in Bangladesh directly, there are militant organizations in the country who are followers of Al Qaeda and IS ideology and inspired by the call for Jihad these militant organizations may commit big subversive activities in Bangladesh.

 

With the objective of staging armed revolution, militant organization Ansarullah Bangla Team is imparting training to the militants and getting funds through a NGO named “Research Centre for Unity and  Development (RUCD)”. Fugitive army official Maj Ziaul Huq and one of the top leaders of Ansarullah Bangla Team namely Ijaj Hossen are reportedly maintaining contacts with Al Qaeda and IS.

 

A senior Dhaka Metropolitan Police officer revealed that the militants are getting money from foreign sources through ‘hundi’ or private banks. “We are fortunate that 90% of Muslims in Bangladesh abhor extremism”, he added.

 

Senior Jamaat leaders including its chief Matiur Rahman Nizami and  Naib-e-Amir Delawar Hossen Sayeedi, both convicted by war crimes tribunal, disclosed during interrogations that they were working to bring all the Islamic militant parties under one umbrella. Ever since the Awami League came to power with a massive mandate in 2009 the Jamaat became apprehensive that the noose would soon tighten around its top leadership as the Awami League was determined to push through the trial of war crimes of 1971 in which the entire top Jamaat leadership was involved.

 

Since then Jamaat has been making serious and concerted efforts to augment its political standing by consolidating friendship with other Islamic radical groups with the objective of letting loose destabilizing forces to turn Bangladesh in to a failed state and overthrow the democratic government for its replacement with Islamic rule.

 

Dhaka Metropolitan Police Additional Commissioner Monirul Islam said that although the militants of Bangladesh are domestically organized there is no guarantee that they would not be involved in Jihad or massive subversion with the help of foreign militants.

 

Mere banning of militant groups or taking periodic actions against the leaders and cadres of these groups will not serve any useful purpose. Bangladesh government has to remain alert and should not allow the Jihadist groups to gain in strength either by continuing activities independently or in alliance. Massive offensive should immediately begin against such militant outfits.




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