Police have been left baffled as to how a British militant recruiter arrested in Dhaka three years ago was able to leave Bangladesh even though his passport had been confiscated by the authorities.
Samiun Rahman alias Ibne Hadan, a 31-year-old British citizen of Bangladesh origin, was arrested by Indian law enforcement authorities in Delhi on Sunday.
Police said they were striving to find out if the militant arrested in Delhi is the same as the suspect they arrested in Kamalapur, Dhaka
, on September 28, 2014.
If they are the same person, police will look into how he was granted bail by the High Court in April this year but was still able to flee the country.
Court sources said Samiun had petitioned a lower court for bail once before, but had seen his plea rejected. Police also submitted a charge sheet against him before a trial court, while a case is currently at trial under the Anti-Terrorism Act 2009 which Samiun had petitioned the High Court to quash.
However, the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crimes (CTTC) unit of police, which investigates all militancy-related cases in the country, said they had not been notified of Samiun’s bail.
“If a high-profile militant or suspect receives bail, we are supposed to be informed of that. But in this case, we did not receive any such information,” CTTC chief Monirul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune on Thursday night.
“We are also working to confirm if the militant arrested in Delhi is the same person as the militant our law enforcement authority picked up in Dhaka in 2014.”
Samiun entered Bangladesh on February 25, 2014 and set up a base to gather fighters to send to Syria to join the so-called ‘jihad’. Before Bangladesh, he had visited Syria, Turkey and Morocco on the same mission.
The British-Bangladeshi militant was arrested in Dhaka for trying to recruit members for the international militant organisations Islamic State and the Nusra Brigade, also known as al-Nusra Front.
Samiun was actively trying to recruit militant operatives for Islamic State and al-Nusra Front in Sylhet, Habiganj and Dhaka districts, the Detective Branch said following his arrest.
Detectives received the information from Asif Adnan and Fazle Elahi, two suspected members of banned militant outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) who had been arrested in Dhaka only four days before Samiun.
Asif and Fazle were also the first to inform the Detective Branch that Samiun - inspired by al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri’s plan to expand the terrorist organisation’s operations in South Asia - had been trying to set up an international militancy network named al-Qaeda in the Indian Sub-continent (AQIS) in Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Sources have told the Dhaka Tribune that the Detective Branch of police believe Samiun illegally crossed into India in July.
He then allegedly began setting up bases in Delhi, Mizoram and Manipur to radicalise
and recruit young Muslims to wage a war against India and Myanmar, according to the Times of India.
Deputy Commissioner Pramod Kushwah of Special Cell, Delhi police, said he was setting up a base in Delhi and two northeastern states.
“He was preparing the recruits to carry out strikes in India and fight the Myanmar army,” Kushwah said. “He was being assisted by al-Qaeda cadres in Delhi, Hazaribagh and other places in India, who are being identified.”
Kushwah said at the time of his arrest he was carrying a voter ID card bearing the name of Shumon Haq, a resident of Kishanganj, Bihar.
During interrogation, Samiun revealed to Delhi police that his task was to raise funds and incite youths to fight for the cause of Rohingya Muslims and facilitate their entry into Myanmar from northeastern states, the Times of India reported.