Bangladeshi militant held, explosives seized

November 17th, 2008 - 1:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Nov 17 (IANS) A key member of the outlawed Islamist outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) has been arrested at Mirpur near here and a large cache of explosives was seized from him, officials said.The haul included 70 kg of explosives, 150 hand grenades, 40 kg of nitric acid, bomb-making material and equipment along with literature on conducting ‘jihad’ that were recovered from two houses in Mirpur and in Shanir Akhara locality in Dhaka.

The elite Rapid Action Battallion’s (RAB) Additional Director General Col. Gulzar Uddin Ahmed said: “The JMB stockpiled the explosives and the books as they were preparing for fresh attacks and recruitment.”

RAB captured Mohammad Hanif alias Kamal, a full-time activist of the JMB’s military wing, at his home at Kalshi in Mirpur. The 28-year-old is said to be a close associate of present JMB chief Maulana Saidur Rahman.

Major Momtajur Rahman, chief of RAB’s bomb disposal unit, told The Daily Star: “It is possible to make over 500 bombs with the seized explosives.”

Bangladesh banned the JMB and other Islamist outfits, including Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami (Huji), after they killed a number of judges and policemen.

However, there have been intermittent reports that these outfits are regrouping and re-arming under new leaders and have modules and links across South Asia. Despite a number of major arrests made during crackdowns on militants in the last few years, over 250 trained operatives of JMB are still at large.

Col. Gulzar said the JMB men had been recruiting people.

Fugitive JMB operatives have now become a matter of grave concern for the law-enforcement agencies that have no clue on their whereabouts and activities.

Saidur Rahman took charge of the JMB after former chief Abdur Rahman, second-man Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai and four other top JMB leaders were executed in February last year.

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