The youth, who has been calling himself Jashim, is Ahmed Azwad Imtiaz Talukder Omi, a 19-year-old from Dhaka who had been on RAB’s first missing youths list compiled after the Gulshan terror attack.
Police are saying Omi had stayed at the militant hideout in Narayanganj, where Gulshan attack mastermind Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury was living.
Omi left the hideout just seven days before the August 27 police raid there, which left Tamim and two other militants dead.
He also knew the five militants who attacked Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1, police said. Omi was preparing for sabotage under a top leader of New Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Moinul Islam Musa, now on the run.
Police claimed that Omi revealed the information in primary interrogation after he was arrested along with Mahmudul Hasan following Tuesday’s attack on a patrol team of highway police in Chandina, Comilla.
Ahmed Azwat had introduced himself as Jasim to the police after he was captured along with his fellow Hasan, police said.
RAB legal and media wing Director Mufti Mahmud Khan confirmed that Jashim is Ahmed Azwad Imtiaz Talukder alias Omi, number 178 on the first list of missing youths published by the force on July 20 last year.
According to the list, Omi left was unaccounted for since February 29. His father’s name is Major Kabir Hossain Talukder and mother’s name is Yesmin Hossain.
Police sources said Omi was an A level student in Dhaka.
Director of the military media wing, Inter Services Public Relations, Lt Col Mohammad Rashidul Hasan told the Dhaka Tribune that one Maj Kabir Ahmed Talukder was enjoying pre-retirement leave from the army.
“We have heard about the arrested militant being a major’s son and the army is verifying the information,” he said.
Omi’s father’s number, provided on the list, rang but was not picked up.
On the other hand, OC Nasiruddin Mridha of Chandina police said they were quizzing Mahmudul, who was already on a seven-day remand, while Omi, who had been shot, was being treated at a local hospital under police custody.
“In primary interrogation, Jashim said many things. Sometimes he says his father is a Colonel and sometimes he says Major. We are trying to verify the information,” he added.
Acting on the information received from the two, police raided a militant den on Wednesday night, seizing a massive cache of bombs and bomb-making material.
“Omi divulged some important information,” OC Mridha said.
Omi claimed that he had become radicalised through Twitter and expressed allegiance to Abu Ibrahim Al-Hanif, the man Islamic State says is the chief of their Bangladeshi wing.
Afterwards, Omi left his home and soon met Tamim, the military commander of New JMB, said sources in the Counter-Terrorism and Transitional Crime (CTTC) unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
Omi, the sources said, used to translate the outfit’s organisational documents into both Bangla and English. Before the Narayanganj raid, he moved to another den in Dhaka and finally moved to Chittagong two months ago.
The CTTC said the two militants were carrying explosives into Dhaka when they were caught and had made several such deliveries before.
Omi and Hasan had rented some flats in Dhaka and they used to go there frequently, the investigators said.
He also told the investigators that New JMB had many other militant dens in Chittagong, but he did not know all the locations because they were not allowed to visit the other hideouts.
The militant group had been using the Mirsharai hideout as a training centre and bomb-manufacturing factory, police said.
CTTC discovered at least 29 live handmade grenades and 280 packets of splinters, 40 packets of explosive gel, machetes and 11kg bomb-making materials in that den.