Militants pose no major risks now
The DMP's counterterrorism chief has claimed to have destroyed the operational capacity of militants and has expressed confidence there will be no major militant attack in Bangladesh at this moment.
“We've been able to successfully destroy the operational capacity of the militants,” said Monirul Islam, chief of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
“The militants' operational capacity increased last year, but they don't have that capacity any more. We've destroyed it by carrying out anti-militancy drives across the country. The militants have no capacity to launch any more big attack right now,” said Monirul, also the additional commissioner of DMP.
He, however, said militancy was a global problem and no country could say that there would be no more militant attack.
The CTTC chief was addressing a programme at the Dhaka Reporters Unity marking the inauguration of a spoken English course, organised by Crime Reporters Association of Bangladesh (CRAB).
Twenty hostages, mostly foreigners, were killed in the country's deadliest militant attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery in the capital's Gulshan on July 1 last year. The attack also claimed the lives of two policemen. Law enforcers claimed militant outfit “Neo JMB”, an offshoot of mainstream JMB, was responsible for the attack.
Since then, a total of 68 suspected militants either died in police shooting or blew themselves up by detonating suicide vests during at least 20 anti-terror drives across the country. Besides, 150 militant suspects were arrested, according to officials at the Police Headquarters.
The suspected chief coordinator, masterminds and the arms suppliers to the café attackers have already been killed and six others have been arrested during drives by the CTTC unit in last one year.
On July 29, the unit picked up another mastermind Aslam Hossain Rashed alias Rash. The arrestee is now on five-day remand.
Monirul said the investigators would decide on submitting the charge sheet in the Gulshan attack case after the second remand period of the key accused ends this week.
About the arrest of suspected Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) militant Abdullah Al Mamun in India on August 6, Monirul said they already collected information about the arrestee.
He said Abdullah from Mymensingh's Tarakanda upazila left Bangladesh eight years ago to study at an Indian madrasa. “We suspect he might have been radicalised at the madrasa.”
On tracing missing people, the CTTC chief said if anyone goes missing and is radicalised, law enforcers gather intelligence on him to trace and bring him to book. If anyone is traced abroad, the law enforcers seek help from Interpol to arrest him and bring him back home, he added.
DMP Deputy Commissioner Masudur Rahman and CRAB Secretary Sarwar Alom were present at the programme, among others, with CRAB President Abu Saleh Akon in the chair.