Suspected New JMB IT chief among four held
Arifur Rahman Rabbi

Four suspected members from a new faction of banned militant outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, widely known as New JMB, have been detained by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).

Md Ashfak-e-Azam alias Apel alias Abdullah, Mahbubur Rahman alias Rumi, Ashraf Ali, and Shaniuzzaman alias Shaon were booked around 4am yesterday, from the Jatrabari area of Dhaka.

In addition, two foreign firearms, four magazines, 21 bullets, seven knives, 2.75 kgs of explosive powder of different types, five containers of explosive jell, seven mobile phones, three electric detonators, two circuit breakers and a huge supply of bomb-making instruments were also recovered from the house in the Dholaipar area.

‘All the detainees belong to JMB’s Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury and Sarwar Jahan faction. We suspect that Apel is the head of the IT section of the faction’

RAB’s Legal and Media Wing Chief Mufti Mahmud Khan said: “All the detainees belong to JMB’s Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury and Sarwar Jahan faction. We suspect that Apel is the head of the IT section of the faction.”

He added that the suspects, identifying themselves as construction workers, had rented the house on January 23.

“We suspect that they were planning some attacks,” he further said.

The landlord was Mokhlesur Rahman, a former officer of Wasa who died in 2012. Subsequently, his wife Shailu Begum took over maintenance of the house.

Saber Hossain, one of their three sons, said that his brothers were living in Malaysia while he himself was an SSC exam candidate.

Saber added that RAB knocked on their door around 4am on Wednesday, asking where the renters were. They then proceeded to the first floor and detained the four suspects.

Saber said: “The arrested rented the house at Tk7,000 per month and gave Tk2,000 in advance on January 20. They told us that he, his wife and brother would be living at the flat and that they would give their national ID soon, but today [yesterday] RAB detained them.”

Furthermore, RAB took his mother and a ground floor renter named Faruque for questioning. RAB also took their mobile phones, he added.

Mufti had said earlier that IT section chief Mostafizur Rahman Sifat was apprehended by RAB on August 9 last year. Afterwards, Apel took charge the IT section. Apel received a BSc in computer engineering from a private university in 2012. He then served as a programmer in different companies in the capital.     

At Rangpur’s Haragacha, Apel was introduced to Kamal and Sakib Master in a mahfil programme in 2011, through whom he joined JMB. He had attended secret meetings at Rangpur and Bogra, Mufti  added.

Apel received arms training in Chittagong. Then he worked in the IT section of JMB. There he grew close to Manik, later known as Sarwar Jahan, who died in the force’s October 8 raid in Ashulia. Sarwar was the ameer of the terrorist group New JMB and went by the name Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif, RAB claimed.

Apel provided training to senior leaders of JMB who were unable to operate apps, internet or mobile phones. In addition, he collected funds for JMB and had already provided Tk3 lakh to the organisation, said the RAB official.

Shaniuzzaman is also a member of the Sarwar-Tamim group. He joined JMB through Mahmudul Islam in 2014. Mahmudul was the ameer JMB branches in the southern region, RAB claimed.  

Of the remaining, Mahbubur joined JMB after he met Apel in 2015. He later on became a specialist courier for delivering secret documents for the militant faction.

On the other hand, Ashraf Ali had an 8th grade education and joined JMB through a local contact, though RAB did not disclose his name. He also received firearms training in Chittagong in 2015. 

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