Gulshan Café Attack: Sohel ‘admits’ he supplied bombs
Sohel Mahfuz, a key “Neo JMB” leader, yesterday confessed before a magistrate that he had supplied all the bombs used in the Holey Artisan Bakery attack in the capital's Gulshan on July 1 last year, court sources said.
In the confessional statement, Sohel said he himself made some of the bombs, collected the rest from India and supplied those to the attackers, court sources said.
Metropolitan Magistrate Ahsan Habib recorded the statement for over three hours and sent Sohel to jail.
In the statement, Sohel said he was not present at the place of occurrence when the deadly attack was carried out.
He, however, confessed that he was present at a meeting of Majlis-e-Sura members of the terror group where the café attack was planned, the sources said.
Though Sohel confessed to supplying improvised bombs to the attackers, investigators had earlier said that he was one of the suppliers of the arms and explosives used in the café attack that left 20 hostages, mostly foreigners, and two policemen dead.
“They had smuggled the arms and explosives from India and ferried those, hidden in fruit baskets, to the capital from Chapainawabganj and Jessore borders,” Monirul Islam, chief of DMP's Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, said last month.
Sources added that Sohel made no mention of firearms in his statement.
Earlier in the day, Humayun Kabir, an inspector of CTTC, and also the investigation officer of the case, produced the accused at the chamber of the metropolitan magistrate for recording of the confessional statement.
Sohel, known as an explosive expert, was remanded for 13 days in two phases. He was arrested in the bordering Shibganj upazila of Chapainawabganj on July 8.
Three other suspected militants and a former university teacher were also arrested in connection with the Holey Artisan siege.
The three suspected militants had given confessional statements before magistrates on different dates.
On July 1 last year, five armed militants stormed the upscale eatery in Gulshan diplomatic zone and held diners hostage at gunpoint.
Three Bangladeshis, seven Japanese, nine Italians and one Indian were murdered by the gunmen. Two police officials were also killed and 29 others injured when law enforcers in groups attempted to close in on the place.
The standoff ended through a commando operation in which the five militants and a café chef were killed. Another Artisan staff died in police custody later.
Global terror outfit Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq news agency, according to the US-based SITE Intelligence Group.
The government all along said that the attack was carried out by “Neo JMB”, an offshoot of banned organisation Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
Sohel, who played a key role in organising the JMB in Bangladesh and India's West Bengal, was most wanted in both the countries.
He is one of the prime accused in the 2014 Burdwan blast case. The West Bengal police put Rs 10 lakh bounty on his head.