A small group of followers of the militant outfit “Neo-JMB” planted the improvised explosive devices that were recovered from the capital’s Paltan and Khamar Bari last month, suspect counterterrorism officials.
The group members got radicalised by watching online contents of different militant outfits and maintained communication with each other through a “secured mobile application”, Saiful Islam, deputy commissioner of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, told The Daily Star.
They acted like a “wolf pack” which doesn’t have any spiritual leader or organisational structure. They choose their leader by themselves, he said.
“The group was plotting to carry out attacks on police,” claimed Saiful.
The CTTC unit learnt about the group after the arrest of five terror suspects from the capital’s Bashundhara Residential Area on Thursday.
The arrestees were identified as Md Shiblee Shahjad alias Sadi, Shah M Asadullah Mortuza Kabir alias Ababil, Masrik Ahmed, Md Ashraful Al Amin alias Tarek and SM Tasnim Rifat.
Of the arrestees, Sadi and Ababil are students of North South University, Monirul Islam, chief of the CTTC unit said at a press briefing at the DMP Media Centre.
Masrik graduated from the Government MM College in Jashore while Al Amin and Rifat passed HSC examinations recently.
Yesterday, they were produced before the Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court, which placed them on a five-day remand.
The CTTC unit officials said they recovered 10 detonators and four gas bottles from the arrestees.
“We have recovered some explosives that are similar to the IEDs planted in Paltan and Khamar Bari areas last month. We have collected some pieces of evidence regarding their involvement in it,” Monirul said.
The explosives, recovered from Paltan and Khamar Bari on July 24, were powerful enough to kill people and destroy properties in the surrounding areas, said investigators.
Monirul said the arrestees were plotting to carry out “Istihadi” (suicide) attack. They were trying to collect funds from cryptocurrency and other illegal websites.
Investigators said Ababil met Sadi while studying at the NSU, and both of them are “expert” in information technology.
Sadi was supposed to lead an attack on police while Masrik, who is from a border village in Jashore, was given the task of collecting arms from the border areas, said the CTTC unit chief.
Seeking anonymity, a counterterrorism official said all five arrestees were radicalised by watching online contents of militant groups. Of them, Sadi got in touch with “Neo-JMB” leader Basharuzzaman Chocolate in 2014.
Basharuzzaman, an accused in the Gulshan café attack case, was killed in an anti-militancy drive in May 2017.
In reply to a query on why the group chose police as a target, Monirul said the group members wanted to take revenge on police as most of the key militants were killed in different police drives.
Contacted, Towhidul Islam, additional deputy commissioner of the CTTC unit, said, “We have information on some other accomplices of the arrestees and are now conducting drives to arrest them.”