Tk 12.5 lakh spent to carry out cafe attack
12:00 AM, August 01, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:19 AM, August 01, 2018

Tk 12.5 lakh spent on Holey Artisan attack

Charge sheet says 'Neo JMB' got the sum thru' sale of an operative's car

The militant group “Neo JMB” spent around Tk 12.5 lakh to carry out the Gulshan café attack and the money was collected by selling a private car of an operative of the militant group.

Apart from that, Aslam Hossain Rashed alias Rash, a top operative in the group, also gave Tk 40 to 50 thousand to café attack mastermind Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury. But it could not be known what this money was spent on.

Besides this, Sarwar Jahan, a financier of the outfit, also received Tk 18 lakh through hundi (an illegal way of money transfer) from India on June 28, 2016, with the money being used for other militant operations afterwards.

These were the police findings that were mentioned in the charge sheet placed before the court on July 23 by investigators of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit.

The charge sheet mentioned that Tanvir Kaderi, 40, who provided shelter to other operatives of the radical group, sold his Toyota Axio-2009 car on April 20, 2016, and the money from that was later used for the café attack.

Meanwhile, Kaderi and Basharuzzaman Chocolate received the Tk 18 lakh from Sarwar from in front of Bashundhara Convention Centre, after repeating the code: “White Bird Flies Away”. 

The charge sheet said that for the attack, Rash and Hadisur Rahman Sagor, another top operative of “Neo JMB”, collected four 9mm pistols, eight magazines and 35 bullets from Chapainawabganj in May 2016.

Abdus Sabur Khan alias Sohel Mahfuz, who was inducted as a member of Majlish-e-Sura (highest policy-making body) after being interviewed by Tamim in May 2016, collected the arms and established communication with some mainstream JMB members staying in India.

“Neo JMB” -- as law enforcers call it -- is an IS-inspired faction of the banned militant outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).  

Afterwards, two top operatives of “Neo JMB”, Abu Raihan Tarik and Jahidul Islam, a retired major, provided arms training to the five café attackers in Saghata of Gaibandha in the first week of May, mentioned the charge sheet.

They taught the five café attackers -- Nibras Islam, Mir Sabeh Mubashir, Rohan Imtiaz, Khairul Islam Payel and Shafiqul Islam Uzzal -- how to assemble and operate arms, and make improvised explosive device.

They were also trained to use AK-22s but the charge sheet did not mention how those were acquired.

At the same time, Rohan and Nibras also received training in explosives, especially grenades, from Rash, with the training taking place in the Buriganga river.

The planners later established a control room in West Shewrapara of Mirpur, where Tamim and another coordinator named Nurul Islam Marzan, took up position. The attackers were kept in a house in Bashundhara, which Chocolate had rented till the end of May of that year for Tk 22,000.

Chocolate had paid Tk 40,000 as security deposit for the house.

FIVE OTHER PLACES RECCED

According to the charge sheet, the Holey Artisan Bakery was not the first target of the attackers.

As their motive was to kill a large number of foreign nationals, Rash had first recced two places --- Gulshan Park and Holey Artisan Bakery-- in June that year.

During the time, the security guard of the café had asked for Rash's identification, upon which he provided a fake ID card and claimed he was a student of Dhaka University.

Two operatives of the “Neo JMB” media cell, under the organisational alias of “Botam” and “Huzur”, used to prepare different fake ID cards for the outfit's members. The charge sheet, however, did not give any details about them.

The five café attackers had also recced Ladies Club, Jamuna Future Park, Bashudhara Park and Banani Café, along with Marzan, who was killed in a “gunfight” with police.

On June 30, 2016, Tamim and Sarwar came to the attacker's Bashundhara house and held a meeting with them around 11:00pm.

Later, Sarwar Jahan asked them to target the Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1, as most foreigners gathered there on Fridays.

According to the charge sheet, Sarwar also told them, “Do not show mercy...even if the person is a journalist.”

The five attackers entered the café around 8:42pm on July 1 and killed 19 people, including 16 foreigners, within 30 minutes. One Japanese citizen, who hid in the freezer, was killed around 1:00am, the next day.

After the killing, the attackers asked the hostages for a phone with internet connection. Hasnat Reza Karim, a hostage, said he had one. They then took it and installed the Wickr application on his phone to communicate with Tamim and Marzan, the charge sheet read.

Forensic tests showed that the application had been installed in Hasnat's phone after the attack.

‘VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCES'

In the charge sheet, investigators mentioned that Hasnat was a “victim of circumstances” and that the attackers had used him as a shield while going to the rooftop to check on the law enforcer's activity in the morning.

The other survivors of the attack also said Hasnat was forced at gunpoint to go to the roof.

The investigators did not find Hasnat's involvement in the attack and said he had gone there to celebrate his daughter's birthday with his family.

The investigation officer appealed to the court to relieve him from the case.

The anti-terrorism special tribunal in Dhaka fixed August 8 to decide whether to accept the charge sheet against eight militants in the case filed over the attack in Holey Artisan Bakery.

The investigators found the involvement of 21 suspects with 13 of them already killed in different operations.

Of the 21 suspects, five were killed on the spot while eight others -- Tamim; Sarwar; Marzan, a Chittagong University student; Jahidul; Chocolate; Tarik; Kaderi and Mizanur Rahman alias Chhoto Mizan, a grenade supplier -- were killed in different operations.

Among the eight charge-sheeted accused, six are now in jail. They are Jahangir Alam alias Rajib Gandhi, recruiter of the café attackers; Rash; Sohel; Mizanur Rahman alias Boro Mizan; Hadisur Rahman Sagor and Rakibul Islam, a so-called religious trainer.

The other two -- Shahriful Islam Khaled and Mamunur Rashid Ripon -- are fugitives and have fled the country.

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