Arms, explosives found in Shibir-run coaching centre
The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested a long sought-after leader of Islami Chhatra Shibir along with seven accomplices and seized firearms and explosives, busting a Shibir-run university admission coaching centre in Rajshahi city yesterday.
Saifuddin Yahia, 28, general secretary of Rajshahi University unit Shibir, is wanted for 42 cases related to murder, attacks on police, and Shibir-sponsored criminal activities, said Rab-5 director Lt Col Anwar Latif Khan, describing the raid.
Law enforcers have hunted for him since the pro-Jamaat-e-Islami student body started unleashing terror in Rajshahi city by beating a police constable with his rifle at Shaheb Bazar on November 5 last year, he told a press conference at Rab's Railway Colony camp.
In the two-hour raid on Contest coaching centre at Malopara, the Rab seized a 9mm pistol loaded with eight bullets from Yahia, 13 cocktails, two machetes, two cameras, eight mobile phones, leaflets, banners and Jihadi books.
Coaching institutions are a safe hideout for wanted Jamaat-Shibir men, said the Rab-5 chief. “Tracking down Shibir leaders like Yahia are difficult, as they do not stay anywhere for long,” he said.
Ltd Col Anwar claimed that Yahia, who was not allowed to talk to the media but produced with the seven other activists and supporters, confessed to having planned and coordinated the attacks on the law enforcers.
The Shibir leader also confessed to his complicity in blowing off the wrist of Sub Inspector Mokbul Hossain in the city on March 31, and attacking Bangladesh Chhatra League activists at RU, he said.
Son of a schoolteacher in Ishwardi of Pabna, Yahia would appoint leaders and activists for orchestrating criminal acts and organise them on instructions from RU unit Shibir president Ashraful Alam Imon, who is absconding, he added.
The Rab official said collecting new members was one of his main tasks, and he had added some 400 members to RU unit Shibir since January.
The other arrestees are Abu Sayem, 23, of Rajshahi; Motiur Rahman, 20, of Jessore; and Minhajul Islam, 25, Ariful Islam, 19, Abdul Kader Bappi, 19, of Pabna; Kobir Hossain Sumon, 25, of Khulna; and Arifur Rahman, 25 of Panchagarh.
Lt Col Anwar said Yahia revealed that the Shibir central leaders were facing criticism from supporters and new members for recent Shibir-sponsored violence.
He also disclosed that Shibir leaders were considering backtracking from violent movement so that it might not affect Jamaat in the next election, he added.
The first much sought-after Shibir man, Abdullah Al Masum, assistant general secretary of Rajshahi city unit, was arrested by police on August 25.