In the face of crackdown by law enforcers to dismantle the outfit, the New JMB group is frantically trying to continue its operations by reuniting with the assistance of like-minded extremist militant outfits.
Mufti Mahmud Khan, legal and media wing director of RAB, made the disclosure yesterday at a press briefing at its media center at Karwan Bazar in the capital, following primary interrogation of five New JMB militants detained the previous night.
A team of the elite force first detained Maulana Abdul Hakim Faridi alias Sufian, 40, and Rajibul Islam alias Ahmed, 29, from Airport Railway Station around 8:45pm Wednesday night.
According to information extracted from the duo, RAB later detained Gazi Kamrus Salam Sohan alias Abu Abdullah, 27, Md Sohel Rana alias Khadem alias Moazzin alias Shahidullah, 23, and Sheikh Md Abu Saleh alias Liton alias Huraira, 42, at midnight from Adabar area in the capital.
Branding them as Ansarullah leaders who were supporting the trainers of New JMB, Mufti Mahmud claimed: “Of the five, Hakim is a spiritual leader, Rajibul is a small arms trainer, Sohan is an expert on making explosives and also coordinates finance, Sohel used to lead the intelligence wing while Liton is a martial art trainer.”
The elite force also recovered a 9mm pistol, two magazines, 20 rounds of bullet, 10 crude bombs, five detonators and some explosive-making materials from their possessions.
“Hakim was motivated into militancy by Ansarullah spiritual leader Jashimuddin Rahmani who is now in jail. As Hakim was a good orator, he was appointed as the acting chief as a reward of his motivational capability,” Mufti Mahmud said.
After Rahmani’s arrest in August, 2013, New JMB chief Sarowar Jahan alias Abu Ibrahim Al Hanif, and its operational chief Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury invited Hakim to join the outfit, and he agreed with pleasure.
Even though RAB labels Sarowar alias Abdur Rahman as the chief of New JMB, which is linked to Islamic State, police’s counter-terrorism and transnational crime unit identifies him as a mid-level leader.
More than 30 of its leaders and members have been killed in raids and gunfights since the July 1 Gulshan cafe attack.
“After joining the New JMB, Hakim started collecting firearms using his previous source, one Habibur Rahman Sheikh alias Towhid,” the RAB official said.
New JMB member Sohan is an electrical engineer of Desco. He graduated from the Islamic University of Technology in Gazipur where he met Mostafizur Rahman Sifat, an Ansarullah member and administrator of militant website At-Tamkin.
Sohan joined the outfit through Sifat, who was arrested by RAB on August 9. Beside working as an explosives trainer, Sohan used to collect funds from well wishers of the extremist outfit.
At the briefing, Mahmud claimed that they had found a list of 11 names who donated a total of Tk28 lakh to New JMB. Details of the financiers could not be known.
According to RAB, New JMB got Tk1.22 lakh from Shamim, Tk2.10 lakh from Sayed, Tk5 lakh from Rezowan, Tk3 lakh from Amin Baig, Tk3 lakh from Sayef, Tk4.65 lakh from Shaily, Tk3 lakh from Jakir, Tk4 lakh from Saifullah’s relative and Tk2.03 lakh from others.
New JMB intelligence wing member Sohel was in charge of the south-western part of Bangladesh. He also operated a safe-house in Jhenaidah where Tamim and other top New JMB leaders used to hold meetings on carrying out subversive activities.