New JMB arms suppliers still here in Bangladesh

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News Desk : Four top arms suppliers of New Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) have remained in Bangladesh since bringing in their latest shipment of explosives.

Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit officials were tipped off to their presence while investigating the New JMB Ashkona safe house raided on December 24, 2016, from where the unit recovered two pistols, 17 grenades and three suicide vests.

These four arms suppliers are Sohel Mahfuz alias Hatkata Mahfuz, who police suspect supplied the explosives for the Holey Artisan Bakery attack, Mizanur Rahman alias Boro Mizan, Mizanur Rahman alias Chhoto Mizan and Joypurhat Sagor. Police say these men bring explosives and arms for the militant outfit from India and other neighbouring countries.

New JMB leaders and supporters hiding in India are assisting them with weapons and explosive procurement, several sources at the CTTC unit told the Dhaka Tribune recently.

“We suspect that the two Mizans, Sagor and Mahfuz are somewhere in Bangladesh and we are trying to arrest them,” AC Ahmedul Islam, one of the investigators of the arms supply case, said.

Sources said both the Mizans are from Chapainawabganj while Sagor is from Joypurhat. Sohel Mahfuz, a former Shura member of the old JMB, is a bomb-making expert.

These men have a strong network with criminals and arms suppliers who operate in several countries across the region and bring arms and explosives to Bangladesh with their support.

Meanwhile, investigators, are now also searching for the man they believe is the current operational leader of New JMB, Moinul Islam alias Musa, and a dozen other mid-level militants hiding in different dens. The group plans to use these new faces to carry out their operations.

Monirul Islam, chief of CTTC unit, said due to the continuous drives by law enforcement, most of New JMB’s coordinators and mid-level leaders have gone into hiding. Therefore it was likely that new faces would be used to serve their purposes.

“We are getting new names and identities from each of our drives. We will continue these drives and the investigation because taking action against militancy is an ongoing process,” he added.

Although the CTTC chief would not disclose any details, a source concerned said the names Md Selim, Feroz and Siraj had emerged from the Ashkona raid but these could be false identities or organisational names.

Sources say due to the absence of New JMB leadership, Musa is now playing a leading role in the group.

Musa is said to be a former close aide of Siddiqur Rahman alias Bangla Bhai, the executed old JMB leader.

Son of late Abul Kalam Molla, a Muazzin from Bagmara, Rajshahi, Musa finished school at Taherpur Degree College. Then he took admission in Rajshahi College and later to the English department at Dhaka College. After graduating, he started teaching at a school in Uttara but disappeared in April this year.

A senior CTTC official seeking anonymity said police had Musa’s photograph but he was a master of disguises.

Besides Musa, police are also searching for a dozen suspected mid-level leaders of New JMB, who they know as Iqbal, Manik, Mamun, Azadul Kabiraj, Badal, Ripon, Khalid and so-called “big brother” Junayed Hasan Khan.

Concerned sources of CTTC said some of these mid-level leaders have fled to India, including Khalid, Ripon and Junayed.

Abdul Mannan, additional deputy commissioner of CTTC unit, said: “Our officials are working to trace these top leaders and they are positive about getting results soon.” (Source dhakatribune)

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