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DB arrests suspected IS recruiter in Dhaka

  • Published at 08:42 pm September 29th, 2014
DB arrests suspected IS recruiter in Dhaka

The Detective Branch of Police yesterday said they had arrested a British citizen of Bangladesh origin who had come to Bangladesh to recruit members for international militant organisations Islamic State and Nusra Brigade, better known as the al-Nusra Front.

DB Joint Commissioner Monirul Islam said Samiun Rahman alias Ibne Hadan, 28, had been picked up from the capital’s Kamalapur area early yesterday after a few days’ chasing.

A British passport, six mobile phones, an ATM card and a cheque book had been recovered from his possession, Monirul said at a press briefing at the Media and Community Centre of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.

Samiun came to Bangladesh on February 25 and had been trying to gather people to go to Syria and join a so-called jihad there. He had been trying to convince people in Sylhet, Habiganj and Dhaka to join the IS and al-Nusra Front, the DB said.

The IS is a Sunni insurgent group active in Iraq and Syria and al-Nusra Front is a branch of al-Qaeda operating in Syria and Lebanon. A US-led coalition has been carrying out air strikes on IS targets in Syria and Iraq over the past few days. A US intelligence estimate suggests that there can be as many as 31,000 IS insurgents in Iraq and Syria.

The DB claimed to have gleaned important information about Samiun from suspected JMB members Asif Adnan and Fazle Elahi, who had been arrested in the capital on September 24.

They were also the first to inform police that Samiun had been trying to set up an international militancy network named al-Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS) in Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Asif is the son of a High Court judge and Fazle is the son of a retired bureaucrat.

“On the basis of information given by the two [Asif and Fazle], we [recently] conducted a raid on the six-storey luxurious house of Samiun at Ghoplar Char in Nabiganj, Habiganj. But we could not find him there,” DB boss Monirul told reporters yesterday.

He said Samiun had confessed during primary interrogation that he had previously joined a demonstration organised by the IS and Nusra against Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad. Before coming to Bangladesh, he had worked for the Nusra front in Syria from September to December last year. He went to Morocco from Britain with a friend to collect members for a so-called jihad.

Asked about the suspected IS militant’s finances, Monirul said Samiun belonged to a well-off family of British citizens of Bangladesh origin. “He has not always been like this. Five years ago, he got arrested for being drunk and spent a little while in jail in Britain. He changed after coming out and started working for the IS,” Monirul said.

During interrogation Samiun and the other suspected militants have said they used to target people, who liked the fan page of Peace TV presenter Anthony, and contacted them mainly over social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and email.

However, Monirul could not give any details when asked if anyone from Bangladesh had gone to Syria to join the IS.

Samiun, meanwhile, was produced before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court of Dhaka who granted the DB a three-day remand for him.

During the drives that have been going on for over a week detectives have arrested over a dozen suspected members of the IS who had been allegedly recruiting people for the organisation.

Monirul said these suspected militants had started reorganising after al-Qaeda chief Ayman Al Zawahiri’s video recently came on air. “These activists have been mainly trying to contact the IS, but we are yet to get any valid proof of that,” he said.

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