The Detective Branch (DB) of police has arrested a Shariah board member of banned militant outfit the Ansar al-Islam also known as Ansarullah Bangla Team, the Bangladesh chapter of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) from Dhaka on Friday.
Mawlana Md Maksudur Rahman alias Abdullah was picked up from the Dhaka’s Jatrabari area on Friday night, DMP Deputy Commissioner (media) Masudur Rahman confirmed to the Dhaka Tribune on Saturday.
Monirul Islam, additional commissioner and chief of Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, later at a press briefing said that Abdullah had become a member of the group’s policy making body in 2015.
“Ansarullah is secretly regrouping to incite people to kill by misinterpreting Islam,” said Additional Commissioner Monirul Islam.
The Shariah board of Ansarullah consists of 5 members according to police, who decide the militant outfit’s activities including compiling a kill-list.
Monirul claimed that Abdullah was one of the five Shariah board of Ansarullah with one other members in jail and the rest still absconding including the infamous Maj (sacked) Syed Mohammad Ziaul Haque also known as Maj Zia.
The group usually aims at killing secular bloggers and writers who the group deem as anti-Islamic, said police.
One of the spiritual leader of the group Tamim Al Adnani, According to RAB is one of the three top leaders of Ansarullah now living in Malaysia is still preaching and broadcasting his sermons on Youtube.
Ansarullah started carrying out machete attacks in January 2013 killing 11 people till 2016 mostly against campaigner of war crimes tribunal, secularists, writers and LGBT activists.
Abdullah an Imam of a mosque in Mymensingh’s Phulpur upazila was arrested when he came to Dhaka for a top level Ansarullah meeting.
He became interested in armed jihad while studying at Faridabad Madrasa, Jatrabari in 2007 and received a one-month-long rigorous training on religious ideology and military tactics in Uttara’s Dewanbari area in 2015.
Monirul said that they would seek his remand to glean more information about the extremist group.
The government banned Ansarullah in May 2015 after the group took responsibility for several machete attacks. They later changed their name to Ansar al-Islam, which was banned in March this year.
So far, 2 Shariah board members of Ansar al-Islam has been arrested, Mawlana Abu Naim and Abdullah with Maj (sacked) Zia absconding and the identity of 1 undisclosed and one unknown, according to police.
Police on Saturday called one of the leaders as “Mowlana” but did not reveal his identity of the sake of their investigation.
CTTC Chief Monirul Islam said Maj (sacked) Zia is the military commander of the group working under the guidance of the “Mowlana.”
A high official from CTTC said that at least 50 members of the banned militant outfit has been arrested.
The group has three departments, Daowa (logistics and recruitment) Askari (arms and military training) and lastly communications department manned by IT experts disseminate information on social media, all under the command of the “Mowlana,” according to CTTC chief Monirul.
The operation department has two sub-departments “Masul” where the attacks are planned out and “Manur” the department that executes the plan of attack, he added.