Video released by Rab: Families trace missing ones
Abu Jafar's family was sure that he had been living in the Maldives for the last three years. He last visited Bangladesh in 2019 and left home saying he was going to the Maldives.
Each time they contacted Jafar, he gave them the same answer: he was in the country on the Indian Ocean.
They knew something was wrong only when Rab officials visited Jafar's house in Faridpur's Charbhadrasan two months back and asked about him.
On January 30, Jafar's brother-in-law Md Shahjahan identified him in a video released by Rab on January 24. Jafar was seen cooking while some others were receiving firearms training.
Rab got the video from the mobile phone of Masikur Rahman alias Ranbir, the military commander of banned outfit Jama'atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya, who was arrested with an associate in Cox's Bazar on January 23.
This correspondent talked to at least nine other families that have identified their missing relatives in the video.
Abul Kalam, father of Raihan who went missing 15 months ago, is one of them.
He told The Daily Star that he contacted Rab on January 27 seeing his son in the video sent by a relative. Before this, some Rab members came to his house two months back and took information about Raihan.
Kalam, a resident of Dhaka's Kamrangirchar area, said his son had gone to Dubai in 2018 as a worker.
On November 9, 2021, a woman called Raihan's uncle and told him that Raihan had returned home and was staying at a friend's house in the capital's Badda.
"When I went there to look for him, I was told that Raihan had gone to another friend's house in Cumilla. I went there but found no trace of him. We later reported the matter to law enforcers," Kalam told The Daily Star.
Raihan's father believes his son may have joined the outfit when he was abroad. He requested the law enforcers to rescue his son alive and bring him back home.
Mahmud Dakua, a graduate student at New Model University College in the capital's Shukrabad, used to run a bookshop at Nilkhet. He lived with his elder brother on Lalit Mohan Das Lane in old Dhaka.
On the afternoon of March 18, 2021, he left the shop and has been missing since.
The following day, his relatives filed a general diary with the New Market Police Station. Posters were also pasted in different parts of the country seeking his whereabouts, but to no avail.
On January 25, the family members identified him in the video and contacted Rab. He was seen in the video thrice.
Mahmud's elder brother Rasel Dakua told The Daily Star that he brought Mahmud to Dhaka from Barishal's Bakerganj in 2016 and admitted him to the college.
A few days before he went missing, Rasel had seen some changes in Mahmud's attitude towards religion, but he did not suspect anything.
Rasel said a man used to visit him regularly and he suspects that his brother was lured to militancy through that person.
Lt Col Moshiur Rahman Jewel, head of Rab's intelligence wing, told The Daily Star that those who were seen in the video are members of the banned militant outfit Jama'atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya.
They were undergoing training there under the supervision of Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), an armed group of Chattogram Hill Tracts.
Fifty-five members of the newly surfaced Jama'atul Ansar, formed by the leaders of JMB, Ansarullah Al Islam and Huji, took the combat training so far. They were trained in operating firearms and some of them even trained on explosives, Rab said.