Atiqullah, who was arrested in Dhaka on Wednesday, had multiple meetings with top militant leaders, including Laden, Mullah Omar, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to police
Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami Bangladesh (HujiB) leader Mohammad Atiqullah, an Afghan-war returnee, met al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan during the war that started in 2001.
Atiqullah, who was arrested in Dhaka on Wednesday, had multiple meetings with top militant leaders, including Laden, Mullah Omar, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to police.
Bin Laden, who ordered the September 11 attacks in 2001, was killed by US forces during a raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011.
On Wednesday evening, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit picked up Atiqullah, alias Asadullah, alias Zulfiqar, 49, and two of his associates, Mohammad Borhan Uddin Rabbani, 42, and Mohammad Nazim Uddin, alias Shamim, 43, from a playground near Boro Mosque in Nikunja 2.
During interrogation, Atiqullah told them about his meetings with bin Laden and other militant leaders and his ties to al-Qaeda, according to CTTC sources.
Informed that several HujiB men had gathered at a playground for a secret meeting, a CTTC team conducted a raid there, said Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Deputy Commissioner (Media) Masudur Rahman,on Thursday.
He also said Atiqullah was an organizing secretary of the committee of HujiB formed by Mufti Hannan in 1996, and was later assigned to oversee the Baitul Mal and International Relations Department of the organization.
CTTC sources said that during the tenure of the last caretaker government, he went into hiding in Saudi Arabia and visited Pakistan multiple times for militant activities.
in primary interrogation, police learned that Atiqullah has connections with militant groups in other countries, including Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, sources at the CTTC said.
A CTTC official related to the investigation said Atiqullah also told police that he is a bomb specialist. After being exiled abroad for long, he returned to Bangladesh in March this year, and had been trying to contact old members of the militant outfit to reorganize it.
He also had been trying to recruit new members to speed up HujiB's activities in the upcoming days, he said.
The CTTC official said Atiqullah also made organizational visits to various places across the country, and raised money from both domestic and foreign sources, to mobilize the organization.
Najim, one of two other persons arrested besides Atiqullah, is a secretary of the HujiB Dhaka Metropolitan South unit, while the other person arrested, Rabbani was given the responsibility of handling Feni district.
Recently, the three, Atiqullah, Najim, and Rabbani, were trying to reorganize the group, focusing on India's Kashmir and Rohingya issues, said the official.
DC Masudur Rahman said a case has been filed in this connection with Khilkhet police station under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
3 placed on 4 day remand
A Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Court yesterday placed each of the three detainees on a four day remand.
Since these HujiB members have important secret information, more interrogation was required to glean more details to arrest other HujiB associates, police told the court.
The government banned the militant group on October 17, 2005.