New JMB militants Basaruzzaman and Nayeem Ahmed were in close touch with top Islamic State hackers and communicated with them through Threema, an Internet-based communications tool.
Nayeem, who was arrested along with another militant, Anwar Hossain, during a raid in Dhaka’s Khilkhet, admitted this to law enforcers, Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit chief Monirul Islam told a press briefing at Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Media Centre on Saturday.
A CTTC team raided Nikunja on Friday night and detained Nayeem Ahmed alias Anas alias Abu Hamja alias Arisha Kuniya and Anwar with 30 detonators.
Asked how they came closer to one another, Monirul, also additional commissioner of the DMP, said: “Nayeem and Basharuzzaman alias Chocolate had been colleagues at a private IT firm in 2015, and militant Basaruzzaman, who was killed in Shibganj upazila of Chapainawabganj during a raid, had been tutoring the younger brother of Saiful Haque Sujan, one of the top IS hackers, before he was killed.
“Thus, they established a network among themselves and discussed how to carry out militant activities in Bangladesh and the methods to raise funds.”
They used to exchange motivational jihadi literature among themselves, he added.
“Nayeem and Anwar joined the New JMB together, and Nayeem received a 40-day weapon training with some of the militants killed during a raid in Kallyanpur in July last year,” the CTTC chief said.
Referring to the primary interrogation, Monirul said Anwar owned a motor garage at Hemayetpur in Savar, where he had arranged car bombing training at the advice of a New JMB Shura member.
“Anwar got involved in New JMB in 2015 and had links with its members Sarowar Jahan, Ripon, Noman, Al Bani and Don,” he told the briefing, adding that Anwar plotted to carry out attacks before the Gulshan attack on July 1 last year, which left 20 people dead.
Labeling Anwar a white collar criminal, the CTTC chief said he rented a house for the New JMB members.
He added that New JMB militants already lost their capacity to a great extent due mainly to continuous anti-militancy drives by law enforcement agencies across the country since the Gulshan attack. “Now, they are trying to form smaller groups and revamp their organisation.”
Earlier, law enforcers said New JMB men were trying to revive outside Dhaka due to the heightened footprint of law enforcement agencies in the city, but they have again started to reorganise themselves in Dhaka.
Asked about their revival, Monirul said: “Actually, they cannot survive anywhere because their energy is eroding. So, they are focusing on dividing into small groups.”
Though many of them are not directly involved in the militant outfit, they are providing shelter to its members, he added.