44 top Islamist militants held in Bangladesh: Report

Last Updated: Sunday, July 19, 2009 - 20:28

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s elite anti-crime
force arrested 44 top leaders and activists of the
Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, amid fears that the banned
Islamist militant organisation was trying to regroup, a news
report said on Sunday.

According to an official of the anti-crime Rapid
Action Battalion (RAB), they have arrested a total of 44
leaders and cadres of JMB during last six months, Bangladesh`s
national news agency said today.

Moreover, the headquarters and its 12 battalions so
far have arrested 475 JMB cadres in the country from 2005 to
2008, the report said.

Inspector General of Police Nur Mohammad said the
police and other security agencies were in close coordination
in line with a recent government directive in a bid to
intensify the anti-militancy campaign in the country.

"The militant groups are now literally on the run
because of the stringent vigil of police and other law
enforcement and intelligence agencies," Mohammad was quoted as
saying by the news agency.

Commander SM Abul Kalam Azad, the RAB spokesman, said
their men so far arrested have 46 members of JMB`s highest
policymaking body (Majlish-e-Shura) of the banned outfit,
alongside 103 Ehsar members.

A total of 17 members `suicidal squad` of JMB were
arrested by RAB while 10 members of "Gayebi Ehshar" (hidden
cadre) were held during the period, according to the RAB

According to the RAB spokesman the list of arrested
extremists "included JMB chief Shaikh Abdur Rahman and HuJI
(Harkatul Jihad Islami) chief Mutfi Abdul Hannan".

He said other prominent figures who were detained
during the period included JMB`s second in command Siddiqul
Islam Bangla Bhai and the outfit`s military wing chief Ataur
Rahman Sunny. Six of the JMB kingpins, including Shaikh
Rahman, Bangla Bhai and Sunny were executed two years ago.

The RAB earlier this month arrested the second in
command and military commander of a newly emerged militant
outfit `Islam O Muslim`, a JMB offshoot from a border town in
northwestern Chapainawabganj.

Security officials recently said they launched an
intensified anti-militancy campaign amid reports that the
outlawed groups were trying to regroup in northwestern region
under a fresh recruitment drive.

Security forces last month arrested the JMB`s IT wing
chief Emranul Haque Rajib, a civil engineer, weeks after they
netted the top explosive exert of the outfit, Jahedul Islam
Sumon alias Mizan from Dhaka.

JMB, one of several outlawed Islamist groups seeking
to turn mostly Muslim Bangladesh into a sharia-based Islamic
state, was blamed for a series of deadly bombings in late
2005. Banned JMB members, who fled from their hideouts during
the crackdown in 2005 after the August 17 serial bomb
blasts, were trying to regroup.

Sheikh Hasina, who assumed office as Prime Minister in
January after a landslide election win on December 29, 2008,
has floated the idea of a regional terror mechanism to combat
the menace in South Asia.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, July 19, 2009 - 20:28
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