A Neo-JMB leader has confessed to a court that a sleeper cell of the militant group killed a man whose photograph is uploaded on the website of SITE Intelligence Group.
The picture, captioned "IS Documents Execution of Practitioner of Witchcraft in North of Bangladeshi Capital", is of Sohail Rana, 39, from Shilasi village in Mymensingh's Gafargaon.
SITE Intelligence, which monitors the online activities militant group ISIS, released the picture on August 16. In it, Sohail is seen bald, wearing a purple vest, two large beaded necklaces and an identity card around his neck.
Sheikh Sultan Mohammad Naimuzzaman, leader if a Neo-JMB cell, who was arrested with four others on August 11 in Sylhet, confessed to a magistrate on August 24 that a Gazipur-based Neo-JMB sleeper cell of five killed Sohail, who they called "shadhubaba", said an official from The Counter Terrorism and Transnational Unit (CTTC).
It claimed to have arrested four of the murder suspects on September 10 from Azampur area of the capital's Uttara. They were, however, arrested for their alleged involvement in the Paltan blast incident on July 24.
The arrestees were Mamun Al Mujahid alias Mamun alias Sumon alias Abdur Rahman, Al Amin alias Abu Jihad, Mujahidul Islam alias Rokon alias Abu Tarik and Sarowar Hossain Rahat. The fifth murder suspect is still on the run.
Though Naimuzzaman confessed to the killing and gave a vivid narratives of how Sohail was killed, a CTTC official wishing anonymity said since Sohail's body could not be recovered yet, his family was asked to file an abduction case.
On Tuesday, Sohail's younger brother Saiful Islam Jewel filed the case against unknown persons with Sreepur Police Station in Gazipur.
The case statement said that around 8:00pm on July 30, Sohail, who was a follower of Maizbhandari Sufi Order, called his father Abul Kashem over phone and said he would visit home on the day of or day after Eid-ul Adha.
As he did not show up, they tried to contact him and found his phone switched off, he said, adding that they searched for his brother at every possible place but found no trace.
Jewel said he thinks his brother was abducted sometime after he made the last phone call to his father. Asked, he said the photo uploaded on the SITE Intelligence website was his brother's.
HOW SOHAIL WAS MURDERED
According to the confessional statement, now arrested Sumon first received a message through an encrypted app with instructions of an "operation".
They assigned a local to request Sohail to provide ayurvedic treatment to an ailing person. At 10:00pm, the local took Sohail to a secluded brick field where the trio was waiting, said a CTTC official quoting the statement.
Sumon first gave Sohail a drink mixed with sedatives. When he refused the drink, the three tied his hands and legs and took him to an isolate spot. Sumon hacked Sohail to death with the assistance of Rokon while Al Amin videotaped, the official said.
Another member Rahat then brought a boat and the killers boarded it with Sohail's body, tied a 30kg stone to the body and dumped it in the Sitalakhya.
A CTTC high-up, requesting anonymity, said they have searched different areas of Gazipur for the body but are yet to get any trace. Due to the body not being found yet, he said they are still investigating whether the confession is true or not.
Speaking to The Daily Star, Saiful Islam, deputy commissioner of CTTC unit, said that they have got some information by interrogating the arrestees.
"We have also gotten some conversation details between the cell members. We are now analysing this information along with [information of] the Paltan blast," he said.