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15 militant groups active in Bangladesh: Officials

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 18:12

Dhaka: Pakistan-based militant groups
like LeT, Harkat-ul Mujahideen, JeM and HuJI are among 15
foreign terror groups who were active or are still operating
in Bangladesh since 1991 using the country as a safe shelter
or transit to infiltrate India.

Operatives of several groups used to visit Bangladesh
from Pakistan and then India to commit their activities, while
many from India also sneaked into Bangladesh and then visited
Pakistan with fake Bangladeshi passports to have training on
arms and explosives, the Daily Star reported today.
Referring to unidentified security and intelligence
officials, the paper said Bangladesh was used mainly for
transit to neighbouring countries, inlcuding India, till 2005.

It listed the organisations as Lashkar-e-Taiba,
Tehrik-e-Jehad-e-Islami-Kashmiri, Harkat-ul Mujahideen,
Harkat-ul-Jehadul Islami, Hizb-ul Mujahideen, Hezbe Islami,
Jamiatul Mujahideen, Harkatul Ansar, Jammu and Kashmir
Liberation Front and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

In addition, Asif Reza Commando Force (ARCF),
Myanmar-based militant groups Rohingya Solidarity Organisation
(RSO), Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) and
National United Party of Arakan (NUPA) are also active.

The report said the militant organisations operated
almost undisturbed from 1991 to 1998 and then between 2001 and
2005, the periods when ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia`s
Bangladesh Nationalist Party was in power with fundamentalist
Jamaat-e-Islami being its crucial ally.
Police and elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion
confirmed the presence of the militant outfits saying the
detained foreign operatives of these groups admitted that they
were largely being patronized by Pakistani intelligence
agencies and while they found HuJI as their local host.

But they added that with intensified anti-militant
clampdown in recent periods, the foreign extremist operatives
were now faced with a major setback.

"Now Bangladesh is no more a comfortable place for
local or foreign militants as we constantly remain vigilant
and go after militants upon instructions of the government,"
RAB chief Hassan Mahmud Khondkar said.

The report, however, said currently some militant
groups were generating funds for their operations by selling
counterfeit Indian currencies in India while the counterfeit
Indian rupees and US dollars were mainly being forged in
Pakistan and carried to Bangladesh via Dubai.

"We`ve detected at least three such gangs having
around 50 members. One of the gangs is led by Bangladeshi
citizen Majumder, one by Pakistani citizen Sarfaraz and the
other by another Pakistani named Mohammad Danish," said a top
police official asking not to be identified.

Detective policemen in the past four months arrested
six suspected Pakistani militant operatives mostly belonging
to Laskar-e-Toiba (LeT).


First Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - 18:12

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