‘Over 33 militant outfits active in Bangladesh’

April 26th, 2009 - 12:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, April 26 (IANS) Over 33 Islamist militant outfits are active in Bangladesh of which only four are banned, the home ministry has indicated.
The ministry is working to update information after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina twice rejected its report in recent weeks and constituted a 17-member task force to study measures to counter militancy.

She demanded a fresh report on how the militants were funded, information about their networks, process of recruitment, their patrons and local and international links.

The number of militant organisations in the country might be much higher than 12, which was earlier mentioned in a home ministry report March 16, The Daily Star newspaper said Sunday quoting unnamed home ministry sources.

“The agencies are now analysing the information they gathered,” State Minister for Home Affairs Tanjim Ahmed Sohel Taj, who heads the task force, told the newspaper.

Sources said the intelligence officials are now preparing the report and they have identified five NGOs, which are either funding militancy or are active in militancy. The source, however, did not disclose the names of the NGOs.

The government stepped up action after a Britain-based NGO was found to be funding a seminary on the Bhola island in southern Bangladesh where a huge cache of arms and explosives was found last month.

Islamist militancy has been on the rise since the 9/11 terror strike in the US and the coming to power at the same time of the Khaleda Zia government.

Her government denied existence of these outfits for long till activities of Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai hit international headlines.

Her government banned four of the outfits - Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Harkat-ul Jihad al Islami (Huji), Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh,(JMJB) and Shahadat-e-al-Hikma.

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