The teacher of Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST) who had been missing since last week and three others have been arrested by police’s Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit during an anti-militancy drive.
Assistant Professor ABM Sohel-ud-Dowlah and three young men were arrested on Sunday evening, police said yesterday.
The others, Ahadul Islam Sagar, Rabiul Haq Mithu and Mohammad Towasin Rahman are students of different colleges and universities in the city.
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CTTC chief Monirul Islam said in a press briefing on Sunday afternoon at the Dhaka Metroplitan Police media centre: “Our team arrested four militants from Dhaka’s Motijheel area around 6:30pm Sunday. We came to know that they are members of the banned militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team alias Ansar al-Islam.”
Two laptops, two notebooks, two mobile phones, a passport, a translated copy of a book written by Osama Bin Laden and other jihadi books were seized from their possession.
“In a primary interrogation, they admitted that some members of their group had escaped,” he said.
“Those members are in touch with the sacked army major Syed Mohammad Ziaul Haque. The arrestees have provided their names.”
Police did not disclose the names of the escaped suspects.
“They planned to go to Afghanistan for jihadi training, but changed plans due to very tough entry there. Later they chalked out another plan to join Al-Nusra Front, the Syrian version of Al Qaeda,” Monirul said.
For this reason they were trying to apply for visa to other countries. The three young men were trying to go to Syria. Sohel, the university teacher, was their organiser.
The CTTC chief also said that Shohel had links with the leaders of the ABT abroad. They were members of the Dawn section. Different time of the country, they were associated with the planning of killing of bloggers.
In 2014, they were involved in militant activities with the fugitive militant Hasan alias Razor. They used to communicate with each other through the Telegram messaging app and Tutanota e-mail, he added.
On Thursday night, Sohel’s brother Shafiq-ud-Dowla lodged a general diary with Tejgaon police station, saying Sohel had been missing since the afternoon that day.
When contacted, Tejgaon police OC Mazharul Islam said: “Sohel’s family told us that he is not connected with any political or religious parties or groups.”
Police later discovered that the last known location of the missing teacher was near Dhaka’s Kakrail mosque.
When asked why Sohel had gone missing on Thursday, Monirul said they had no idea about the matter.