Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said the slain militant Saddam Hossain - alias Rahul alias Sabuj alias Chanchal alias Robi - was the main man behind the spate of militant attacks in northern Bangladesh which began in late 2015.
The minister made the statement in a press briefing held at his Dhanmondi residence around 11am on Friday, soon after the two most-wanted militants of the New JMB – Saddam and Nurul Islam alias Marjan alias Shakil – were killed in an alleged gunfight with police.
"The detectives had been searching for the two militants for a long time," said the minister. "It was not just Marjan or Saddam, we will not spare any militant."
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The minister said the gunfight had begun when members of the police's counter-terrorism unit asked the militants to stop their motorcycle.
"They [Marjan and Saddam] hurled bombs targeting the officers. In retaliation, the law enforcers fired back – that left the two injured," he said.
Saddam and Marjhan were later declared dead at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Saddam was accused in at least 10 murders, including that of Japanese citizen Hoshi Kunio in Kaunia town in Rangpur District in October 2015.
Marjan, 22, was formerly an Islami Chhatra Shibir leader in Chittagong University and was believed to be the youngest operations commander of the notorious militant outfit the New JMB, a new faction of Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) with links to Islamic State.
A source investigating the July 2016 massacre at the Holey Artisan restaurant in Gulshan earlier said Majran was one of the close associates of new JMB leader, Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury.
The Gulshan attackers sent updates and photos of the massacre to an ID by using a 'protected text'; Marjan had the password of the ID and he opened it and then sent the photos to the mastermind and planner.
Last month, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters that Marjan would be arrested "anytime" as law enforcers were chasing him.
On Friday, he claimed that the New JMB's strength had been weakened after the death of Marjan and Saddam.
"We will also arrest Musa and Maj (sacked) Zia."