Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) have arrested six suspected operatives of banned militant outfit Ansar al Islam in Dhaka and Satkhira, who were allegedly operating the group online and through encrypted messaging apps.
The six were arrested in separate raids in the capital’s Uttara, Gazipur and Satkhira’s Shyamnagar upazila on Friday, said Mozammel Haque, commanding officer of Rab-4 at a press conference at Rab media centre yesterday.
The arrestees are: Shafiqul Islam alias Salman Muktadir (21), Elias Hawlader alias Khattab (32), Ekramul Islam alias Amir Hamza (21), Amir Hossain (26), Shipon Mir alias Abdur Rob (33), and Waliullah alias Abdur Rahman (25), the elite force said.
“They were planning to gather at a place in the capital’s Uttara to plan an attack,” the Rab official claimed, adding that they have seized a laptop, mobile phones and books, leaflets and digital content containing extermist ideologies.
They arrestees have been involved with the banned militant outfit for two to four years, according to the elite force.
Among them, Amir Hossain used to operate six Facebook pages to propagate the ideology of Ansar al Islam and is the chief coordinator of the outfit’s Satkhira district, Rab said.
He was influenced by sermons and write-ups of radical Muslim preacher Mufti Jasim Uddin Rahmani. He eventually got connected with Elias Hawlader alias Khattab, a top militant, who was earlier involved with Harkat-ul-Jihad Bangladesh, according to Rab.
Elias influenced diploma engineering student Shafiqul, generator operator of a mobile company Ekramul and driver Shipon through encrypted messaging apps, Rab claimed.
Another arrestee Waliullah was a teacher of a madrasa in Sutrapur. Through his job, he got connected with a militant named Abdullah, in 2016.
After Abdullah left the country, he got in touch with Mahafuz and Saiful Hujur in 2018, who influenced Waliullah to work for the outfit’s Dhaka south area, the Rab claimed. Rab said Ansar al Islam is responsible for killing bloggers, writers and free thinkers in the country.