Police’s elite force Rapid Action Battalion yesterday claimed to have received information of a possible merger between two banned militant groups – Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team. The new wing is identified as Daulatul Islam.
RAB, however, could not confirm the number of militants working under the new platform and refused to disclose the identity of their chief.
The law enforcers got the information questioning six Daulatul Islam members from different parts of Dhaka from Tuesday night to early yesterday.
After the Gulshan attack, investigators told the media that they had recovered a handkerchief from the crime scene that reads Daulatul Islam of Bangladesh in Bangla.
Police have claimed that the Gulshan and Sholakia attackers, and the nine militants killed in a raid at Kallyanpur were from the same group – New JMB – which is a faction of the JMB and linked to Islamic State.
In April, DB police said that they had got proof that a new organisation Daulatul Islam was providing financial support to the members of Ansarullah and Hizb ut-Tahrir.
According to RAB, the six militants detained are the members of a suicide squad and one of them, Mustafizur Rahman alias Shifat, belongs to Ansarullah Bangla Team. He used to claim terror attacks in Bangladesh on behalf of Islamic State alongside updating IS’ official website Amaq news agency.
A RAB press release yesterday said that two teams of Ansarullah and JMB had decided to work together under the banner of Daulatul Islam. A website named At-Tamkin was working as their media to claim responsibility for the attacks. The website was accessible as of last night.[caption id="attachment_9503" align="aligncenter" width="568"] Arms, ammunition and explosives recovered during the arrest of the six militants in different areas of the capital[/caption] Shifat, 27, was an administrator of the website, RAB’s Legal and Media Wing Director Mufti Mahmud Khan told reporters at its headquarters. “During primary interrogation, Shifat has admitted that he claimed 11 such attacks under the banner of Daulatul Islam,” he said. The five others are members of JMB – Jahid Hasan alias Moin, 21, Noyon Hossain, 21, Jahid Anowar alias Porag 21, Tajul Islam alias Tajul, 29, Ziabul Haque, 24. Since September last year, IS has claimed responsibility for 25 attacks in Bangladesh that killed 45 persons, mainly foreigners, and non-Sunni and non-Muslim preachers. RAB sources said they detained Porag from Airport Railway Station area on Tuesday night and following his statement detained two others – Tajul and Moin – from Al Arafat Hotel in Gabtoli area around 2am. Later, a RAB 4 team detained Shifat, Ziabul and Noyon from a tin-shed house in Uttar Bisil area under Shah Ali police station around 5am. They rented the house three days ago. A large number of firearms, ammunition and explosives were recovered from the house. Asked if Shifat was the only administrator of At-Tamkin, Mufti said: “There can be more. We will have to investigate and find out more about this.” Asked if the militants were planning to launch an attack, he said that they were still in dark about the matter. “But in a note book recovered it was found that they drew a map of Hazrat Shah Ali shrine.” As the JMB is generally against shrines, they might have targeted the shrine on Mazar Road. “But it will be too early to comment about it,” another RAB official told the Dhaka Tribune. Madaripur attackers had code names The elite force also revealed that militant Golam Faizullah Fahim alias Abrar, who along with his associates, attacked a Hindu teacher of Madaripur Government Nazimuddin College on June 15, was also a member of JMB. Fahim was earlier involved with another outlawed militant group Hizb ut-Tahrir. He was killed in an alleged gunfight between his cohorts and the police during a raid in Miarchar area at Bahadurpur on June 18, a day after he had been placed on a 10-day remand. RAB yesterday said Ziabul, one of the militants caught yesterday, was supposed to take part in the attack under the code name of Abdur Rahman. But their ameer, who is yet to be identified, asked him not to participate in the attack few days prior to the attack. In June, police also arrested JMB recruiter Khalid Saifullah Jamil alias Afif Kayfi alias Pothbhola Pathik, son of a teacher of the same college, for masterminding the attack. After analysing his phones, Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit officials discovered that he had recruited at least 49 people to work as JMB sleeper cell members at different places across Bangladesh. Militants in gold smuggling RAB’s Mufti said they had received information from Shifat that the militants had been involved in gold smuggling to finance their activities. A well-placed source, closed to the investigation, said that from this, they would get two benefits – if they succeed they would receive huge amount of money, and if caught during smuggling, they would be labelled as smugglers not militants. In that case they would get bail easily and resume work after coming out of jail. The members of Daulatul Islam used children to carry arms with a view to evading arrest, RAB said quoting a Facebook conversation between the militants. Digital recruitment The new group was operating in three separate units – recruitment, training and operation groups. The recruitment work was mostly done through social media platforms including Facebook, Telegram and Threema. The recruiters used to operate fake Facebook profiles to monitor the activities of potential members. Once selected, the freshers were contacted through Telegram and if found trustworthy, they were given new IDs on Threema. The operational instructions came through the Threema app, RAB said. If a suicide attacker survived and could join them again, he is given a new name. Throughout the process, the members are barred from asking any question about the operations and names of the team members and leaders.