Key “Neo-JMB” militants Basharuzzaman Chocolate and Mizanur Rahman alias Chhoto Mizan were killed during a raid by police on a militant den in Chapainawabganj's Shibganj about three months ago, a top counterterrorism official disclosed yesterday.
Basharuzzaman was a fund collector for “Neo-JMB” and Mizan was one of the suppliers of grenades and firearms used in the Gulshan café attack on July 1 last year, according to counterterrorism officers.
Monirul Islam, chief of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), confirmed the death of the two, sources at DMP's crime conference said.
Four militant suspects blew themselves up during the 12-hour raid on April 27 on the den at a mango orchard in Chapainawabganj, where they were holed up. At that time police only confirmed that Rafiqul Islam alias Abu, a member of the militant outfit, was among the dead.
Police learnt about the identities of two other suspects, Basharuzzaman and Mizanur, by interrogating a key militant suspect Sohel Mahfuz, who was arrested earlier this month. There was also "circumstantial evidence" supporting Sohel's claim, said CTTC officials.
There will be DNA tests to formally identify them, they said.
Basharuzzaman had been on the run since he evaded arrest on September 10 last year when law enforcers raided an Azimpur flat in the capital. His wife Ferdousi Afrin was among the three women militant suspects arrested from there.
CTTC officials said Basharuzzaman hailed from Rajshahi's Tanore upazila. He passed SSC from a local school and HSC from Rajshahi New Government College. He later moved to Dhaka. He went traceless six to eight months before the Gulshan attack.
Monirul recently said they were trying to arrest at least two or three out of the five “Neo-JMB” militants involved with Gulshan attack. Basharuzzaman and Mizan were among the five.
Another one of them is recently arrested Sohel Mahfuz, who was another supplier of arms and grenades used in the attack that left 20 people, mostly foreigners and two police officers killed.
The two remaining suspects are Hasidur Rahman Sagor alias Joypurhat Sagor, who also supplied grenades and firearms to the Gulshan attackers, and one of the organisers Rashed alias Rash.
Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque, who attended the crime conference as the chief guest, directed police to ensure that people were not being harassed.
DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia claimed harassment of people by DMP had drastically reduced and the quality of service at police stations had improved. “We are trying to bring down harassment of people to zero.”