Who is this Arko?
Tribune Desk

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One of the nine militants killed in a SWAT operation at Kallyanpur early Tuesday is Md Shazad Rouf Arko, a close associate of Nibras Islam who along with four others had attacked a Gulshan restaurant on July 1.

Arko, 24, studied in Monash University, Malaysia and previously in North South University with Nibras and both of them were accused in a case filed with Shahbagh police station earlier this year. He had been missing for the last six months.

On February 9 this year, police arrested three people from Institute of Engineers, Bangladesh, in Dhaka based on a tip that 12 people were planning subversive activities there. The other nine had run away.

The arrestees were identified as Raiyan Minhaj alias Raimu alias Armin, 24, Ahmed Sammur Raihan alias Chiller, 23, and Towhid Bin Ahmed alias Riyaj alias Kachhi. Later police filed a case against them under anti-terrorism act.

According to the case records, police said the three youths mentioned the names of Shazad Rouf Arko, Nibras and some others.

The investigators have found evidence that Arko was an American citizen, and his fingerprints too matched with his National Identity Card, a DB police official confirmed to the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.

Arko was also named on the list of 68 missing persons released by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).

According to the RAB document, Arko, the son of Tawhid Rouf, went missing on February 3 this year. His father filed a general diary with Bhatara police three days after he went missing. He was a resident of Bashundhara residential area in Dhaka.

Seeing the photos of the nine militants yesterday morning, Tawhid called the police and said he wanted to see the body to confirm his identity. He went to the Dhaka Medical College morgue along with a US embassy official in the afternoon. None of them spoke to the media.

Dr Sohel Mahmud, assistant professor of the DMC’s forensic department, conducted the autopsies of the nine militants. He told the Dhaka Tribune that Tawhid seemed a little confused when he was shown the body.

The law enforcers later said that they would conduct a DNA test to identify the body.

Masudur Rahman, deputy commissioner of DMP (media and publication), told the Dhaka Tribune that they had confirmed the identities of seven of the nine militants following different procedures. However, the bodies would be handed over to their families only after proper verification, he added.

After the raid on Tuesday morning, police claimed all the nine militants were linked to banned outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), which has also been named in the Gulshan and Sholakia attacks, dismissing any link to the Islamic State.

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