Law enforcers today arrested a pilot of the country’s national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines among four members of banned militant outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) on charges of plotting sabotage with aircraft and other militant activities.
The arrestees were identified as Sabbir Emam, 31, a first officer of Biman, his mother Sultana Parvin, 55, and two other JMB men Md Asifur Rahman Asif, 25, and Md Alam, 30, said Mufti Mahmud Khan, director of Rab’s legal and media wing, at a briefing held at Rab media centre in Dhaka’s Karwan Bazar this afternoon.
Based on information obtained from a JMB activist Md Billal Hossain, 23, who was arrested in an anti-militancy drive in Narayanganj on October 26, Rab came to know about a plot to carry out militant activities involving sabotage of aircraft operation.
Billal was a close associate of JMB militant Abdullah, one of the seven who were found dead during an 88-hour long operation of lawmen in the capital’s Mirpur area on September 7.
The elite force members then conducted drives at different areas in Mirpur from last night till this morning and detained the four JMB operatives, the Rab official said.
Rab claimed that Sabbir also told in primary interrogation about a possible plot to hit residences of top brasses of the government with an aircraft or hijack an aircraft to Middle East with passengers.
Captain Sabbir has been working for Biman since 2014 and used to fly Boeing 737 aircraft as the first officer. Earlier, he worked with Regent Airways from 2010 to 2014, Rab said.
On inquiry, an official of Biman’s public relations department told The Daily Star that Captain Sabbir earlier refused to fly after the anti-militancy raid at a building in Mirpur’s Mazar Road in September this year.
Sabbir formally appealed to the director of flight operations not to allow him to fly considering his “mental state” as “his father, was arrested in the raid.”
His appeal was approved by the authorities and he was off duty since then.
Sabbir’s father, Habibullah Bahar Azad, owner of the building, was arrested on the anti-militancy raid on September 7 that saw seven people, including militant suspect Abdullah, dead.
However, no concrete evidence on the plot to sabotage using aircraft could be obtained yet, the Rab official added.