Some businessmen of the capital are financing the revival of banned Islamist outfit Jama’at-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), claims the Detective Branch of Police.
With the money, leaders of the JMB which was banned on February 13, 2005 had taken lease of at least 15 acres land in the forest areas of Thanchi in Bandarban. They have also set up a shelter house-cum-training camp in Cox's Bazar.
The land in Bandarban is used for training newly-recruited members and cultivating crops to raise fund for its activities.
So far, four businessmen had been identified for financing these activities, said DB officials, upon information given by three arrested JMB members. Detectives know their names and identities but are yet to confirm any political link of those businessmen.
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, the DB officials said they had gleaned the information while interrogating the three JMB members – Md Shameem Mahfuz alias Sumon alias Manring Morong, 38, of Gaibandha, Md Zahidur Rahman, 33, of Pirojpur, and Ismail Hossain, 39, of Chandpur.
They were arrested on July 30 in the capital’s Sayedabad area with huge explosives in their possessions. Arrested in 2011 in Bandarban while making bombs, they had gone into hiding after securing bail in 2012.
Of the three, Shameem was a leader of Islami Chhatra Shibir during his student life at Rangpur Cadet College. He later studied social welfare at Dhaka University.
During interrogation, the trio said those businessmen had also been providing them with training materials and necessary equipment.
DB's Additional Deputy Commissioner Sanwar Hossain said they were looking for the four persons who have been on the run since the arrest of the trio.
He said regrouping of the JMB was not massive yet. “They have several groups that comprises six to seven members. There are IT experts among the trainees and the newly-recruited members,” he said.
The JMB had been dysfunctional after the execution of its top leaders during the previous military-backed caretaker government.
There are five outlawed groups and seven blacklisted organisations which have been operating defying the government ban and vigilance of the law enforcement agencies. The government last year said it would ban 10 more Islamist groups for their involvement in militancy.