Shooting at police and snatching of three top Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) leaders in Trishal suggest the banned outfit is still active with enough power to carry out such attacks on law enforcers.
Yesterday's incident that saw death of a policeman even proves wrong the claims made on several occasions by the law-enforcement agencies that the entire JMB network has been terminated.
However, Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandker at a programme in Sylhet yesterday claimed despite the attack the situation was still under control.
“Militant activities are under control with spontaneous public support and activities of the law-enforcement agencies,” he added.
Asked if JMB had ability to carry out subversive activities, Rab Director General Mokhlesur Rahman said the outlawed outfit's network and organisational strength had broken down. Yesterday's attack was an ambush carried out with all its strength, he claimed.
Rab sources say more than 200 JMB leaders and activists who were accused in different cases filed following the countrywide synchronised attacks on August 17, 2005 are still out of the dragnet.
They however have no data how many JMB leaders and workers are active now.
According to intelligence sources, although there is no central body of JMB, the outfit has regional units in different areas with leaders and activists working under their current chief Sohel Mahfuj.
Apart from Sohel, other mentionable leaders still eluding arrest include Masum, MA Sadik Babul, Abdullah alias Kafi, Abdullah alias Abu Jahid, Abu Sayeed Sheikh, Abdullah Al Mamun and Mir Mosharraf Hossain.
The sources suspect the outfit carried out yesterday's attack as part of a plan to revamp its strength.
Sohel Mahfuj might have made the plan from his hideout in a neighbouring country to snatch Mohammad Rakib Hasan Russell alias Hafez Mahmud and Salahuddin alias Salehin, who are the third and fourth top-ranked leaders of the outfit, said a top Rab official.
“Sohel Mahfuj, who is the oldest and most experienced among the existing JMB leaders, got the ability to reorganise JMB,” said the Rab official wishing anonymity.
An official of another agency said if the dreaded leaders like Hafez Hammud, Salehin and Mizan join the group again, it would definitely be a threat to the country's stability.
The Islamist outfit grasped the spotlight as a hardcore militant organisation after blasting 459 synchronised bombs in 63 districts on August 17, 2005 leaving two persons dead and 50 others injured.
In subsequent attacks, it also killed a number of people including two judges in Jhalakathi, sending a chill through the nation.