The country’s law enforcing agencies have come to know that Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) members have established link with global network of al-Qaida. Informed sources say that JMB is now in touch with Indian branch of Al-Qaida as they find it difficult to stay and operate from Bangladesh because the local law enforcing agencies are seriously active.
The old JMB of the country is trying to regroup and conduct their terror activities with their new ally. Ansar al Islam is also trying to regroup and be active, sources in the law enforcing agencies said. Counter terrorism officials on condition of anonymity said, they are thinking that top leader of JMB Salauddin alias Salehin who is staying in India has established connection with AQIS. In this regard, a daughter of detained JMB Ameer Maolana Saidur Rahman is working as the bridge between Salauddin and AQIS. Izaz Hossain alias Sazzad alias Kargil, who was once involved with Jamautul Moslemin, married the daughter of detained JMB chief Maolana Saidur.
According to a report carried by Pakistani newspaper Daily Dawn on January 9 in 2015, four senior al Qaida leaders including Bangladeshi national Izaz were killed during a special operation by Pakistani security forces. Wife of slain Izaz is now living in Pakistan at the shelter of the global terrorist organization al- Qaida. Salauddin has established direct link with al-Qaida through her, law enforcing agencies assumed.
Two years ago, intelligence agencies came to know that Ansar al Islam or Ansarullah Bangla Team( ABT), who claimed themselves as the Bangladesh chapter of the AQIS, became very close with the leaders of JMB in jail. Senior leaders of the two local terrorists groups have been detained in Khashimpur Central Jail for long.
They became very close with each other. However, two different sources gave two different types of information regarding this issue. One source claimed that on behalf of JMB, detained JMB top leader Salauddin expressed his loyalty to ABT founder Maolana Jashim Uddin Madani inside jail. But another source claimed that ABT chief Maolana Jashim Uddin himself expressed loyalty to Salauddin on behalf of notorious ABT.
President of Institute of Peace and Security Studies Major General (rtd) Moniruzzaman said, “ AQIS is very active in India. They are looking towards Bangladesh also. Some indications are showing that the activities of AQIS have increased.” At present, JMB is the oldest terror outfit among all the active militant organizations. Fourteen years ago, JMB blasted 500 bombs in 64 districts simultaneously, creating local and international headlines in major media outlets for a week. It has the largest number of militant members than any other local terrorists organizations. JMB’s five senior leaders including its founder Shaykh Abdur Rahman were hanged in 2007. Then Maolana Saidur Rahman became JMB chief. But he has been also detained for nine years. Salauddin is now leading the JMB as he is the top most senior leader among all old JMB policymakers.
On February 23 in 2014, JMB hijacked three militants by carrying out attack on a prison van at Trisal area under Mymensingh district. According to the information, after that incident Salauddin left for India. He is heading JMB from his hideout in that country. Law enforcing officials said due to the continuous special drives conducted against militants, JMB is expanding its terror networks in India. They expanded militant networks in India because they were facing serious troubles from law enforcers. This information became public after the deadly Burdwan blast in India’s state West Bengal. Following the blast, several members of JMB were arrested by the Indian security forces.
In an interview with JMB’s internet based mouthpiece in 2017, Salauddin said, “ When we first started, our only target was Bangladesh. But now we have set up our chapters in different countries.” Though JMB expanded its network in India, its main target is still Bangladesh. Senior officials who are engaged in combating militancy in Bangladesh said, despite its repeated attempts, JMB could not establish its leadership framework due to the action of security forces.
They are also facing serious financial crisis. As a result, they are committing robberies to solve their economical problem. But many security experts opined that after establishing link with al-Qaida, JMB is trying to be active in the country again. Killing blogger and publisher Shajahan Bacchu in Munsiganj district is such an indication. After the killing, JMB took the responsibility of the murder through its internet mouthpiece.
Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit ( CTTU) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) chief Monirul Islam recently also admitted that militants are trying to re-group. But he clearly said that after the Holey Artisan attack, militant organizations have lost their major capabilities that they had earlier. Immediately after the Holey Artisan attack, the law enforcing agencies have demolished the terror outfits successfully.
Some counter terrorism officials believed that pro-IS militant organization Ansar al Islam is the most organized organization at present. Born in 2008, ABT came into light through gruesome killings of progressive bloggers in 2013. Their last operation was killing LGBT right activists Xulhaz Mannan and his friend drama activist Mahbub Tonmoy.
Some researchers who closely monitor militancy said ABT members went to underground for strategic reasons. But they have not given up their mission. ABT recently has intensified their activities in the virtual world of internet. After grilling some recently arrested ABT militants, counter terrorism officials came to know that ABT was continuing their recruitment program secretly. However, many ABT leaders were killed during gun battle with security forces.
Major (expelled) Sayed Ziaul Hoque, who is the military commander of ABT, is yet to be nabbed. Law enforcing agencies officials said ABT has around fifty active members. Most of them are highly trained and skilled in information technology. Major portions of the ABT members are educated. Besides, ABT has a large number of supporters in the country. It would be very risky if JMB and ABT jointly start terror activities, a senior anti-militant journalist commented.