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Are militants regrouping?

  • Published at 01:18 am August 8th, 2018
RAB
Intelligence says militants are planning terror attacks, including car bombs and chemical weapons on civilians and law enforcement Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

They have a deep connection with the so-called Bangladeshi jihadists stationed in Syria and other adjacent war-torn countries

According to a recent intelligence report, several militant groups are chalking out plans to unite under a single banner, and are trying to re-launch the trend of large-scale terror attacks across Bangladesh.

These militants are planning terror attacks, including but not limited to targeted killings, using car bombs and chemical weapons on civilians and attacks on law enforcement personnel and establishments, the report says.

They have a deep connection with the so-called Bangladeshi jihadists stationed in Syria and other adjacent war-torn countries. 

Sources at the Home Ministry told the Dhaka Tribune that it has received intelligence reports and has already informed police headquarters to take necessary preventative steps. 

Following the Home Ministry’s instructions, police headquarters have relayed directives to its units across the country, for ensuring the security of police and their establishments. Vigilance toward militant activities has also been intensified.

The intelligence report expressed concerns that the militants may have targeted Awami League leaders, progressive writers, think tanks, bloggers, atheists, members of the minority communities, and foreign nationals working at development projects throughout Bangladesh.

The militants could also attack law enforcers who are closely working to combat terrorism and militancy.

Security recommendations

The intelligence report recommended some security measures to curb the possibility of militant attacks. 

It advises that data on every new tenant be collected and they be closely monitored, unrestricted public access be controlled in bus depots, train stations, airports, and docks. It also recommended frequent raids at the abovementioned public areas.

The report further recommended that activities of local agents, working for mobile phone based money transfer systems such as BKash, be brought under regular scrutiny, for shutting down small and large scale terrorist funding operations and money transfer mechanisms.

To stop any possibilities of car bomb attacks, as well as illegal use of stolen vehicles for transporting arms, ammunition and explosives, the law enforcers were advised to prioritize the investigation of car theft cases.

The report also stated that law enforcement agencies should build up the capacity to identify chemicals that can be used in terror attacks.

Responding to a query, Md Moniruzzaman, additional deputy inspector general (Intelligence and Special Affairs) of police headquarters, told the correspondent: “The police intelligence has their own findings about the militant threat. 

“We have been looking at the matter seriously, and we already have the capacity to tackle any threat.”

He admitted that the network of militants is still functioning, and more threats could be looming on the horizon. 

“But the units, which have been working to combat terrorism, have already been put on alert,” he added.