Bangladesh Police yesterday named two masterminds behind the recent militant attacks, particularly branding former army officer Syed Mohammad Ziaul Haque as the key player.
The law enforcers also circulated seven pictures of Zia in different dresses and styles which proves that he is a master of disguise. The police have placed a bounty of Tk20 lakh on his head.
Zia's name first came up in 2010 for instigating a mutiny in the army cashing in on the 2009 BDR Mutiny, and also the following year, along with over a dozen of army officers – linked to outlawed outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir – for attempting a failed coup in December 2011. Zia was from the engineer corps at Mirpur Cantonment and trained in special operations.
Investigators claim that Zia is now involved with banned militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team and is one of the masterminds behind the attacks in Gulshan and Sholakia, and the murder of secular bloggers.
Hailing from Mostofapur of Moulavibazar, Zia is the son of Syed Md Zillul Haque.
According to the Bangladesh Army, Zia met a senior officer on December 22, 2011 and tried to provoke him into using the army against the state. The officer immediately informed the appropriate authorities, and his leave and transfer orders were cancelled.
He did not return to work and has been absconding.
Ansarullah started their activities with support of Ejaz Ahmed, a Bangladeshi descendent in Pakistan with close ties to al-Qaeda, while Zia has been working as the planner and decision maker of the outfit.
Zia is believed to be helping in the training of the members and also taught them bomb-making skills, intelligence agencies said.