Money now rules JMB recruitment
Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh is now providing money along with motivation to entice new recruits in the banned outfit.
In the past, only motivation would do the trick but now it has changed its recruitment strategy, said law enforcers dealing with the militants.
The dawati (invitation) unit of the outfit first select young simpletons from ultra poor families in rural areas or by visiting mosques. After that the militants get close to the target people and start discussing about Jihad.
"If the targets respond positively the JMB operatives start giving them some religious books, particularly those on Jihad. They also give them a certain monthly amount to gain their confidence and slowly make them dependent on the outfit," said a senior official of the Rapid Action Battalion intelligence wing.
"At one stage the targets become infatuated with the JMB," he said, adding that some of the recently detained militants told them that the outfit would spend a monthly amount of Tk 500 per target.
He, however, could not say exactly how many targets JMB has across the country.
Sub-Inspector of Boalia Police Station Hafizur Rahman, who is investigating the case filed following the arrest of seven JMB members in Rajshahi and nearby districts, told The Daily Star that each of the arrestees have so far recruited new members numbering between 30 and 50 before their arrest.
The Rab intelligence official said the militant organisation's outgoings for new recruitments are adding to the outfit's other traditional expenditures like organisational and operational costs, living costs of many of its full timers and their family members.
The change in the JMB's recruitment strategy has increased the organisation's overall expenditure, the official said adding that alongside JMB's traditional source of income, a few NGOs and charity organisations are suspected to be providing funds to JMB.
"We've already got primary information about three to four such NGOs and charity organisations and are trying to get evidences against them," a senior Rab intelligence official told The Daily Star wishing anonymity.
He, however, would not give the names of those NGOs and charity organisations before the investigation is over.
The traditional sources of JMB funding are its members' contribution, Usl (zakat on harvested crops), Zakat, Fitra, leather of sacrificial cattle and contribution of local and foreign supporter and well-wishers.
Besides, counterfeiting of currencies, particularly Indian rupees and US dollars, is also a source of money. JMB also owns some taxicabs and rickshaws from where some more fund is generated, said sources in the law enforcing agencies.
"We have so far detected at least one gang involving JMB members in counterfeiting currencies. The gang used to pay the outfit Tk 50,000 per month," said an official at the Special Branch (SB). He, however, said funding from the sources has shrunk significantly following the arrest of the gang members.
As an impression of JMB's monthly expenditure the official said during interrogation Zahidul Islam alias Boma Mizan, JMB's military commander, told them that JMB used to provide him Tk 1,200 for food, Tk 1,200 for each of the operatives under him, Tk 11,000 as houses rent, Tk 15,000 annually as pocket money, medical allowance as required time to time and Tk 2,000 as outfit allowance per month.
He also told the interrogators that JMB also gave him around Tk 7 lakh in one year to buy bomb-making materials and chemicals before his arrest in May.
The sources said the organisation is now bearing all expenses of around 100 key members.
Bashar, son of JMB Maulana Saidur Rahman, is now looking after the financial affairs of the organisation and he sends the money to the outfit members. They never transact money through banks.
The banned outfit has already started to make their old tested but inactive adherents active. They became inactive due to the drives on the militants after the August17, 2005 synchronised blasts across the country, said sources in the law enforcement agencies.
"The JMB is now trying to strengthen its activities. Whatever they do they are under our careful watch and will be brought to book," Director Intelligence of Rab Lt Col Ziaul Ahsan told The Daily Star.