Momena Shoma, the woman who was arrested in Australia last week after stabbing a man, has been in contact with listed Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) militant Nazibullah Ansari, says Counter-terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) Unit chief Monirul Islam.
In 2015, Nazibullah’s father filed a general diary with Chittagong police after he wrote to his brother that he had decided to join the Islamic State and move to Iraq.
Later, investigations found that Nazibullah, who had studied marine engineering in Malaysia, moved to Syria to fight for Islamic State.
Monirul on Thursday told reporters that Momena and Nazibullah were in a relationship before he went missing. “The two had also planned to get married. But that plan fell through as their families did not agree.”
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The information came forth after questioning Momena’s younger sister Asmaul Hosna Sumona and their father, Monirul said.
Three days after Momena was arrested in Melbourne on February 9, a CTTC team went to her family’s home in Kafrul, Dhaka for investigation, only to have one of their officers allegedly stabbed by Asmaul.
CTTC later arrested Asmaul, who is currently on a five-day remand.
Both sisters have been radicalized through social media, according to law enforcement agencies.
Momena, 24, graduated from the English department of North South University (NSU) in 2016. Sources say that it was during her time at the university that she was radicalized.
She had also started wearing conservative clothing and covered her head, soon after she joined NSU.
She even tried to go to Turkey in 2014, during the height of Islamic State’s recruitment. Her visa was denied, but sources said that she was mostly likely inspired by other New JMB members to go to Syria through Turkey.
Law enforcement agencies are yet to confirm Momena’s involvement with any militant outfit, since she was arrested in Australia, but according to Melbourne police the stabbing was an “Islamic State-inspired attack”.
Momena went to Melbourne on February 1 to study linguistics at La Trobe University.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com