The banned militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team is regrouping outside Dhaka with a plan to again target bloggers in the country.
The ABT Information Technology wing is trying to hack into the social media accounts of the bloggers and forward their details to the ABT military wing.
The Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit under the Dhaka Metropolitan Police learned this information after arresting the ABT IT wing Chief Md Ashfaq-Ur-Rahman Ayon alias Arif alias Anik on Monday night.
CTTC also learned that a special team was undergoing training to execute this plan.
Ashfaq, who was closely supervised by the discharged fugitive army official ABT Military wing Head Major Syed Ziaul Haque, or Zia, was gathering the bloggers’ details on his laptop.
CTTC Chief and Additional Commissioner Monirul Islam disclosed thee findings to journalists at a press briefing held over the arrest at DMP media centre on Tuesday morning.
He said: “Ashfaq was nabbed from Bhatara area of Dhaka on Monday night following a tip-off.” Later, a case was lodged against him with Bhatara police station under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
He was produced before a Dhaka court seeking 10-day remand, though the court granted him five-day remand, court sources said.
Studying Computer Science at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Ashfaq joined ABT a year and half ago. He was arrested when he went to meet someone, the CTTC chief said.
ABT aims to regroup, while silently collecting members and training them, he said.
“We seized several electronic devices from Ashfaq’s possession while trying to unmask the current leaders of the outfit’s three wings – Dawa, military and media,” he added.
In the interrogation, Ashfaq admitted to collecting names, addresses and movement of bloggers, by hacking into their social media accounts, Monirul said.
He also admitted to meeting Major Zia several months back, he added.
Based on his statements, police suspect Major Zia is in Bangladesh, though CTTC has been unable to gather recent information about Major Zia.
Ashfaq underwent arms training from Major Zia in 2015 at Pallabi and Uttara, when appointed as the Media wing chief.
Ashfaq also translated foreign articles, instigating militancy, into Bangla and supplied them to ABT members as well as uploading them onto the “Dawa Illallah” website run under the supervision of Major Zia.
Major Zia failed to orchestrate a coup in 2011 and has been on the run, with a Tk20 lakh bounty announced to nab him.