The Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit yesterday claimed to have busted a militant gang whose members in the guise of NGO workers had long been spreading terror propaganda among Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar.
The NGO, Small Kindness Bangladesh (SKB), was being operated by the followers of banned militant outfit -- Ansar Al Islam -- in a five-storey building on Road-9 in DOHS of Pallabi, said CTTC officials.
Acting on a tip-off, a CTTC team raided the NGO office early yesterday and arrested eight members of Ansar Al Islam, Mohibul Islam, deputy commissioner of CTTC unit, told The Daily Star.
The arrestees are Saf Wanur Rahman, Sultan Mahmud, Nazrul Islam, Abu Taher, Ilias Mridha, Ashraful Alam, Hasnain, and Md Kamrul. They are aged between 24 and 38.
The team also seized Tk 14 lakh, one laptop, eight CPUs, cheque books of eight banks and 10 cell phones from the office, he said.
Mohibul added that a case was filed with Pallabi Police Station, and they would seek remand for the arrestees after producing them before a court today.
“The NGO got its registration in 2016 and it has eight directors and all of them are followers of Ansar Al Islam,” a CTTC high official told this correspondent, requesting anonymity.
The NGO's chairman is believed to be hiding in the Philippines, and the NGO is mainly involved in terror financing, he said.
The official further said they were yet to know how much money was transacted through the NGO. But it provided financial aid to a number of Rohingyas.
CTTC officials said the NGO, which was spreading terror propaganda in the name of humanitarian activities in the Rohingya camps, was banned by the NGO Affairs Bureau for its alleged involvement in militancy financing as well as conducting anti-state activities in August.
Despite the ban, the NGO was operating its activities.
Pakistan-based Al-Khidmat Foundation, an organisation that has connections with terror outfits al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba, was operating militant activities in Rohingya camps through the NGO, the officials claimed.
The NGO used to collect funds from different Islamic organisations in Pakistan, Turkey, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and the Philippines. It also collected funds from people both at home and abroad, they said.
The NGO was involved in anti-government campaign in Rohingya camps, and it also provided funds to Ansar al Islam.
About the funding in the Rohingya camps, Wahiduzzaman Noor Joy, assistant commissioner of CTTC unit, said they were investigating to get details. The NGO ran its activities mainly in Dhaka and Cox's Bazar.
CTTC sources said they could not know the NGO's employee number. Most of them are believed to have links with Ansar Al Islam and Jamaat-e-Islami. At least 34 of its workers were working in Cox's Bazar, he added.