Saiful Islam, the militant who was killed, possibly by his own bombs, during a raid on Hotel Olio International in Panthapath, Dhaka on Tuesday morning, came to Dhaka only a week ago, telling his family that he was coming to the capital city to look for employment.
The 21-year-old was a native of Noakati village in Shahosh union under Dumuria upazila, Khulna. His father, Abul Khayer, is the treasurer of Jamaat-e-Islami Shahosh unit, confirmed Habil Hossain, OC of Dumuria police station.
Nazrul Islam, Saiful’s neighbour in Noakati, said his father had been terminated from his post as imam at Mollapara Jame Mosque in the village because of his involvement with Jamaat. He later became imam at Matherhat Jame Mosque.
Eldest among three siblings, Saiful was a madrasa student who passed his Dakhil exam in 2011 from Ula Madrasa and Alim exam in 2013 from Khulna Alia Madrasa, said sources close to his family.
After passing his Alim exams, he enrolled in the honour’s programme in political science at Government BL College in Khulna.
Saiful was an activist of Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, and later joined New JMB. It is not clear when and how he got involved with the militant group, said Monirul Islam, chief of Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crimes (CTTC) unit of police, during a press briefing after the raid on Tuesday.
Sources close to Saiful’s family said his family had been facing financial difficulties, and he told his family he was travelling to Dhaka to find a job.
He came to Dhaka on August 7. His family last heard from him on Sunday; he told he would return home on Monday, but he did not.
CTTC chief Monirul said Saiful stayed in a number of places before taking up refuge at Hotel Olio International.
He had been planning to use the bombs he had on processions to/from Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Russel Square, Dhanmondi for the National Mourning Day on Tuesday, Monirul added.
Dumuria OC Habil Hossain said Saiful’s father had been interrogated and his home had been searched, but police did not find anything suspicious.