July 19, 2024, 3:26 am


Mahabub Alam

Published:
2024-07-11 11:11:58 BdST

Ansar Al Islam regrouping with ‘foreign funding, military-style training’


Members of banned militant outfit Ansar Al Islam are revamping their activities with financial support from both home and abroad as well as military-style training apparently to carry out acts of sabotage, according to sources in the police.

The group is collecting funds from different local sources manually while two individuals – Nahid Ferdous and Desert Jack, also known as David – are among many who are sending money from abroad.

The sources suspect the outfit has several dens and training centres across the country.

About 100 of its members were trained at a training centre at Basapara in Kailati union in Netrokona in the last 3-4 years, Sanwar Hossain, superintendent of police (Operations) of the Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) of police, said.

The training centre, which was busted on 9 June, was full of modern and items for military-type training, he said.

Military-style training was being provided to the Ansar Al Islam men there, said the SP.

On 2 July, the ATU busted a den of the outfit at a house at Borpa in Rupganj of Narayanganj, where bombs were allegedly made.

On Tuesday, it arrested Ansar Al Islam leader Jabed Hossain, who fled before the raid on the hideout, from Tongi area of Gazirpur.

About the den, SP Sanwar said it was a terminating station and financial and material transaction hub. “The trained members have now scattered to different parts of the country,” he said.

The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Ansar Al Islam was earlier antagonistic towards other militant organisations for ideological reasons, but it has now changed its strategies to work with other outfits in a coordinated manner to make it stronger, said the SP.

Nahid Ferdous from Malaysia and Desert Jack from the United States are sending money for the outfit aiming to carry out acts of large-scale sabotage in the country, according to an officer from the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit under Dhaka Metropolitan Police.

Sheikh Imran Hossain, additional deputy commissioner at the CTTC, said, “They’re a big group. We’ve already found evidence of significant acts planned by them.”

“We’ve arrested some members of the outfit and got sure that the duo (Nahid and Jack) used to finance them. We’re now trying to determine how many groups are funded by Nahid and Jack,” he added.

The purpose of the financiers is to rejuvenate the outfit’s inactive members to strengthen it for committing acts of sabotage, the officer said.

Nahid and Jack have reportedly taken many group members abroad, but the exact number is yet to be determined.

Hasibul Islam, who acted as a middleman, sent outfit members to different countries through various recruiting agencies, the officer said, adding that Hasibul is now also a member of the outfit.

CTTC’s Counter Terrorism Division arrested Mamun Hossain, Abu Bakar and Hasibul Islam from the Mohakhali Bus Terminal area in the capital on 2 July. A case was filed against them at Tejgaon Industrial Area Police Station.

Of them, Abu Bakar among others planned an attack on filmmaker Khijir Hayat Khan in December 2018 only to be foiled by police.

In 2019, Mamun and two other militants -- Nazmul Hasan alias Osman and Abu Kaiser alias Rony -- were arrested from the Gandaria area of the capital while planning sabotage. Nahid and Jack were involved in the plot, but their identities were unknown then, according to the CTTC.

After being arrested in 2019, Mamun developed a close relationship with Abu Bakar in jail. Mamun provided Nahid’s WhatsApp number to him. After Bakar secured bail, he communicated with Nahid, who began regular financing.

Nahid subsequently facilitated communications between Jack and Abu Bakar. Jack now regularly finances the banned militant group from the US, according to the CTTC.

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