Eight suspects arrested in Dhaka were close associates of a Gulshan attack planner, RAB says
The notorious, outlawed, militant group Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, has been trying to make a comeback with a different name.
RAB says it arrested eight members of the ”Radical Youth Group” from Dhaka’s Kalabagan, Bashundhara, and Mohammadpur between Sunday and Monday morning. Books on extremist views, a laptop, and mobile phones have also been seized.
The suspects are—Arafat Azam, 30; Rashed Alam alias Badhon, 28; Mir Afjal Ali, 37; Mahadi Hasan, 23; Radiuzzaman Hawlader alias Anik, 27; Jalal Uddin alias Shovon, 28; Jarir Taisir, 26; and Asifur Rahman, 28.
Badhon and Anik are school teachers, while Taisir is a BBA student at Manarat University, Asifur is a web designer, and Arafat is a software engineer.
“They were close associates of Basharuzzaman Chocolate, one of the planners of the 2016 Gulshan attack,” said Mufti Mahmud Khan, director of RAB’s Legal and Media Wing. “We have reports that there have been attempts to revive JMB as the ‘Radical Youth Group’.”
The detainees told RAB that Basharuzzaman formed the group in 2014 at a Mohammadpur mosque. It became particularly active between 2015 and 2016 and tried to recruit educated people and professionals.
The group’s became inactive when Basharuzzaman went into hiding—he was later killed in a police raid in Chapainawabganj last year.
Its members have been trying to reorganize for a while now by holding regular meetings—some with militants. Their activities have spread to Vatara and Kalabagan.
Mufti said the group had at least 30-35 members, adding that they take turns carrying out the duties of their “Ameer”, or chief.
The suspects told RAB that they motivated people to their cause and collected funds. They also fanned extremism and militancy on the web.
“The group also used to send money to the Rohingyas,” the RAB officer said, without further elaboration.