Residents of the Darus Salam area in Mirpur are extremely shocked at having lived next door to a militant for years, they said, hours after three suspected New JMB members blew themselves up in front of police.
Suspected militant Abdullah and two other associates detonated explosives at the Komol Prova building in Mirpur’s Bordhon Bari Road on Tuesday evening, even after they negotiated their surrender with Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
Abdullah’s two wives Nasrin, 35, and Fatema, 25, and his two children Omar, 11, and Osama, 2, were also killed in the explosions.
Abdullah was thought to belong to the new faction of the banned militant outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (New JMB) and had moved into the apartment in 2003, according to Darus Salam police’s tenant database.
A local tailor Mohammad Akbar Hossain, who moved to the neighbourhood the same year, told the Dhaka Tribune that he had known Abdullah for the past 14 years.
“From the looks of it, we could have never guessed he was a militant. He never talked to us about his beliefs or anything,” he said. “He had people coming in and out of his house but I never found any of it suspicious.”
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A university student, Milon, who also lived next door to Abdullah, said: “I never thought this man could have been a militant. He was pious for sure but never displayed the kind of behaviour that could be deemed dangerous.”
RAB Director General Benazir Ahmed said they came to know about Abdullah from a fellow New JMB member who was jailed following an anti-militant drive last year.
“We came to know of Abdullah’s activities after a Shura member of New JMB mentioned Abdullah’s name as a financier who gave shelter to members of the militant outfit,” he said.
On Monday, RAB detained two militant brothers from Tangail who had also told them about Abdullah’s involvement in the organisation and even provided his location.
The two brothers told RAB that they used Abdullah’s house to plan an attack and store a large amount of explosives.
Darus Salam police said Abdullah was the son of late Meer Yusuf Ali, from Alokdia area of Chuadanga district. He used to have an instant power supply (IPS) device store in the area but the business closed so he continued to make the devices from home.
On Wednesday, RAB confirmed that the charred bodies at the apartment were of Abdullah, his family members and two associates after they killed themselves with five explosives.