New JMB had plans to stage a big terror attack in Dhaka, police learnt from four firearms smugglers arrested by the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crimes (CTTC) unit of police in the capital's Darussalam area on Wednesday.
In preparations for the attack, the New JMB members brought 787 detonators and a 9mm pistol to Dhaka, which were smuggled into the country from India through the border in Chapainawabganj's Shibganj upazila, the detainees said during their primary interrogation.
They were identified as Md Abu Taher, 37, Mizanur Rahman, 34, Md Selim Miah, 45, and Taufiqul Islam alias Dr Taufiq. All of them are natives of Shibganj upazila and active members of New JMB, said Masudur Rahman, deputy commissioner (media) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune yesterday, he further said they brought the gun and the detonators in shopping bags.
“These four also supplied the firearms and explosives used in Gulshan attack,” he added.
A case was filed against the four with Darussalam police station under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
According to the case, the four were part of a group who arrived to Darussalam on a long-distance bus on Wednesday night.
CTTC officials were waiting there following a tip-off and approached the group when they got off the bus. As the group tried to flee, the officials were able to catch the detainees while four or five others managed to escape.
They were produced before a Dhaka court yesterday where Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Snigdha Rani Chakraborty placed them on remand for three days.
The arrestees may be shown arrested in the Gulshan attack case as well, sources said.
During interrogation, the New JMB operatives also confessed that they smuggled firearms and explosives via the Bangladesh-India border in Shibganj in preparation for violence on a massive scale in Bangladesh, Masudur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune.
Investigators suspect that New JMB's Chapainawabganj zone leaders Mizanur Rahman alias Boro Mizan and Mizanur Rahman alias Chhoto Mizan alias Tara supervise the smuggling operations.
Interrogators further learnt that Chhoto Mizan collected the weapons and explosives to be used in Gulshan attack and delivered them to Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury and Nurul Islam Marjan, he added.
The material recovered on Wednesday night were collected from Boro Mizan and other New JMB leaders named Rabiul, Jaltu and Laltu, according to the case.