RAB catches militant Mamunur Rashid who supplied arms and money for the infamous terror attack
Banned militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) was planning to jailbreak the plotters of the Holey Artisan attack, said the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) yesterday after they arrested the arms supplier of the onslaught.
At a press briefing, RAB's Legal and Media Wing Director Mufti Mahmud Khan said: “They were planning an operation similar to the one in Trishal to free the attackers of Holey Artisan Bakery.”
“The militants intended to snatch the prisoners [arrested in the Gulshan attack case], when they were being transported to court from different jails for trial,” he added.
The elite force said they came upon the information after interrogating Md Mamunur Rashid alias Ripon alias Rezaul Karim alias Reza, a member of the banned militant outfit JMB, who was arrested from Gazipur on January 19.
RAB alleged that Ripon is the suspected arms and explosive supplier, and financier for the attack on the upscale cafe in Dhaka on July 1 2016; recovered Tk1.5 lakh in cash during his arrest.
In 2014, in a cinematic operation, JMB members killed a policeman and snatched away three of their top detained operatives from a prison van in Trishal of Mymensingh.
Ripon remanded for five days
A Dhaka court has placed the suspected arms supplier Ripon on remand for five days.
Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Kanak Barua ordered the remand after RAB 3 Superintendent of Police Md Kafil Uddin produced accused Md Mamunur Rashid alias Ripon before court with a 10-day remand petition.
He has been placed on remand for a case filed with the Sabujbagh police station under the Anti-Terrorism Act last April.
'Ripon sent Tk39 lakh, firearms for the Gulshan attack’
The suspected arms supplier, Ripon, allegedly sent Tk 39 lakh, firearms and explosives to Bangladesh for the 2016 attack, the elite force said at the press conference.
RAB official Mufti Mahmud Khan said as per the decision of top JMB leaders, Ripon went to a neighbouring country to collect money, arms and explosives in April 2016.
“Ripon confessed that he sent around Tk39 lakh to Sarwar Jahan [chief of New JMB], from that country right before the attack in Holey Artisan bakery,” said Mufti Mahmud Khan.
The elite force official said Ripon also sent three AK-22 rifles, pistols and grenades to Sarwar Jahan to a house at Kallyanpur through Marzan – another planner of the attack.
In February 2016, Sarwar, Ripon, along with JMB leaders – Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, a mastermind of the café attack, Marzan, and Basharuzzaman Chocolate – held a meeting, where Jahangir Alam alias Rajib Gandhi was also present.
They were said to have discussed and finalized on the plans of the Holey Artisan attack in Gulshan, four months before the incident.
RAB also said Ripon, who was in charge of collecting money, providing military training to new recruits, and supplying arms and explosives for JMB, was mentioned as one of the prime accused on the attack’s charge sheets.
According to Ripon’s confession to RAB, other members of JMB’s Majlish-e-Sura unit were closely associated with the plans of the attack.
Mufti also said Ripon conducted a number of militant attacks in the northern region of Bangladesh under the leadership of Rajib Gandhi.
During a drill of attack in April 2016, two Sura members – Fardin and Tarikul Islam alias Jewel – were allegedly killed in Bogra.
JMB’s plan to regroup
After the attack, the law enforcement agencies debilitated the militants, in a series of drives that left them without any leadership.
Ripon took the initiative to regroup the militants, later in 2018.
According to Ripon’s confession, JMB recently had planned to carry out multiple attacks in several districts, including Dhaka and Chittagong, hoping to instill fear in the hearts of the public and tarnish Bangladesh’s image across the world.
Ripon was a member of the Majlish-e-Sura unit of banned militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
What happened at Holey Artisan?
On July 1, 2016, gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan area and opened fire. A total of 22 people, including 17 foreign nationals and two policemen were killed in the attack.
On July 2018, police submitted charge sheet against eight militants allegedly involved with the attack in the Gulshan.
Some 21 members of militant outfit New JMB, a faction of banned militant group Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), were found to have been involved in the planning and execution of the attack, according to the charge sheet.
In November, 2018, a Dhaka court framed charges against eight militants in connection with the 2016 terror attack on the café.
Among the eight, Jahangir Alam alias Rajib alias Gandhi, Rashed alias Rash, Sohel Mahfuz alias Hatkata Mahfuz, Rakibul Islam Reagan, Mizanur Rahman alias Boro Mizan, and Hadisur Rahman Sagor and Mamunur Rashid Ripon are now in custody. Shariful Islam Khalid is on the run.