Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested eight suspected members of a youth wing of banned militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), including an IT professional of a ride-sharing company, from different areas in the capital over the last two days.
“Radical Youth Group” is a new wing of JMB which has been working for the last one and a half years. It targets educated and talented professionals from high and middle-class families, claimed Mufti Mahmud Khan, Rab's Legal and Media Wing director, at a press briefing in the capital yesterday.
Tipped off, teams of Rab-1 and Rab-2 arrested the eight from the capital's Mohammadpur, Kalabagan and Bhatara areas. Books propagating fundamentalism, a laptop and a phone were recovered from their possession.
The arrestees are Muhammad Arafat Azam, 30, a software engineer and IT expert of Pathao; Mir Afzal Ali, 37, an IT professional working at IDB Bhaban; Rashed Alam Badhan, 28 and Radiuzzaman Howlader alias Anik, 27 -- both teachers of a school in Uttara; Mahadi Hasan, 23, and Zarir Taisir, 26 -- students of private universities; Asifur Rahman, 28, a freelance web designer; and Jalal Uddin, an HSC drop-out.
The group was first formed at a mosque in Mohammadpur in 2014, and was mentored by Basharuzzaman Chocolate, a fund collector for the Holey Artisan attack, according to investigators. Basharuzzaman was killed in a raid in a Chapainawabganj hideout on April 27, 2017.
“The Amir (leader) of this group changes time to time. Now Afzal is the Amir of this group,” Mufti Mahmud claimed.
Though the group was formed in Mohammadpur, its network has spread in many areas, he said, adding that it has 30 to 35 members.
In a statement, Pathao said Arafat was working with the company for less than three months under probationary period.
“This matter is under investigation by law enforcement agencies. We are supporting them in this regard as much as possible,” it said.
Contacted around 6:45pm, The Daily Star could not reach officials at the IDB Bhaban for comments, as the office hour was over.