A two-member team of Australian Federal Police have arrived in Dhaka to investigate allegations that two Bangladeshi sisters were involved in the attempted murder of an Australian national in Melbourne last month.
Momena Shoma launched an Islamic State-inspired “lone wolf” attack in Melbourne on February 9, nine days after arriving in the country. She remains in the custody of Australian police.
An official of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) said Momena had informed her younger sister Asmaul Husna Sumona in advance of the attack, and that both girls were drawn into radicalization through social media.
On February 12, as law enforcers visited her Kafrul home in Dhaka, Sumona stabbed one of them, leaving him injured. Police arrested Sumona and sent her to jail following five days of remand.
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“The Australian investigators have arrived in Dhaka to know in detail about Momena Shoma and her sister,” Mohibul Islam Khan, CTTC deputy commissioner, said.
“We are collaborating with the Australian investigators to find out other accomplices of the two ‘radicalized’ sisters.”
According to the CTTC, Momena made contact with a Bangladeshi militant named Gazi Sohan, who reportedly went to Syria on December 11, 2014 to fight for Islamic State (IS). He came back home in May the following year and has been in jail since.
Gazi introduced Momena to Nazibullah Ansari, a Bangladeshi national believed to be fighting for IS in Syria, while she was studying English literature at North South University in Bangladesh.
She fell in love with and had wanted to marry Nazibullah, but her family had refused to give their consent.
Before going to Australia last month, Momena had applied for a Turkish visa as she claimed she was enrolled at a Turkish university. However, the Turkish embassy in Dhaka denied the claim.
Later, Momena planned to travel to Tunisia to attend a university seminar. However, it could not be ascertained whether she was granted a visa to travel to the country.
She then went to Australia after securing a scholarship from La Trobe University.
The investigators concerned said Momena has also been in contact with ATM Tajuddin, an Australian-Bangladeshi citizen who is also fighting for the IS in Syria.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com