Two toy AK-74 type rifles, a toy pistol, three active improvised explosive devices (IED), a huge cache of bomb making material and several mobile phones were also recovered during the raids
Police recovered a number of bombs and bomb-making material from a militant den in Narayanganj on Monday during a raid, which they said were similar to the explosives used in recent attacks in the capital Dhaka.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) Unit chief Additional Commissioner Monirul Islam disclosed the information while briefing reporters after the raid at a building in the Sehachar area of Fatullah around 2:30pm.
Before and during the raid on Monday, he said, police arrested two men for their suspected ties to the militant outfit New JMB – new faction of banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh – and detained another woman for questioning.
Two toy AK-74 type rifles, a toy pistol, three active improvised explosive devices (IED), a huge cache of bomb making material and several mobile phones were also recovered during the raids.
Monirul identified the arrestees as Farid Uddin Rumee, 27, and Mishuk Khan Mizan, 23. Rumee’s wife Jannatul Foara Anu, 21, was the one detained.
He said Rume and Mizan were involved in the five recent attacks and another attack attempt in Dhaka. “We are looking into this.”
After the 2016 Gulshan cafe attack, the law enforcement agencies had systematically conducted raids across the nation and dismantled many militant dens, during which many top militants were also killed.
Afterwards, police top brass had said they had crushed the militant groups, but recently several bomb attacks were carried out in Dhaka targeting the police. An Islamist terror group had also claimed credit for the attacks.
Responding to a query, CTTC chief Monirul said this was a new cell of New JMB. “We think they are reorganizing themselves.”
Mizan was arrested in Dhaka on Sunday night. Rumee, son of former Bangladesh Bank deputy director general Joynal Abedin, and Anu were arrested during yesterday’s raids at Fatullah.
However, another suspect identified as Rumee’s brother Rafiq, who was a teacher at Khulna University of Engineering and Technology, managed to flee, police said.
Narayanganj police’s Special Branch Inspector Sajjad Rumon confirmed to Dhaka Tribune that Rumee was a lecturer in Mechanical and Production Engineering Department at Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST) and his wife works at Agrani Bank Limited.
On the other hand, Mizan is a final year engineering student at the Narayanganj Polytechnic Institute, according to police.
A joint team of Narayanganj district police and CTTC unit cordoned off the tin-shed house beside Tokkar Math at Seyachar around 2am yesterday.
CTTC chief Monirul said the raid was conducted based on information given by Mizan.
Rumee was taken into custody from his father Joynal Abedin’s house, situated in the adjacent Shiachar area, along with Anu around 3:30am.
Then the raid moved to the second house, also owned by Joynal, based on information Rumee provided, said Monirul, who is also a deputy inspector general in Bangladesh Police.
By 10am, residents of at least 20 surrounding houses were evacuated before the raid started.
"We did not find anyone in the second building. But we recovered a huge amount of explosives, bomb-making material and equipment, machetes and some identity cards. They may have been trying to build suicide vests,” said the CTTC chief.
He said the amount of explosives they recovered could have been used to make 15 to 20 bombs.
Responding to a question, he said that the toy rifles recovered from a room of the tin-shed house were similar to the ones carried by several youths seen in a video recently released by the Islamist militant group Islamic State.
Before the raid ended, the CTTC bomb disposal unit disposed off the active IEDs through controlled explosions inside the house between 11am and 2pm.
Monirul said a room of the house was also used as a lab by the militants. “We also found some sensitive chemicals inside a fridge, as they had to be stored at a certain temperature. We destroyed those too.”
Asked about Rumee’s father Joynal, he said: “We don’t know yet whether he [Joynal] was involved in all this. We’ll need more time to determine that.”
According to neighbours, Joynal and his wife are currently at their village home in Faridpur.
Here for six months
CTTC chief Monirul said the militants had been using the house for the past six months as a bomb-making lab and to plot subversive activities.
He said: “Some of those held from here may have been directly involved in organizing, planning and executing the recent attacks.
The materials we have seized from here are similar to the explosives recovered from the spots in Dhaka where terrorists carried out attacks since April.”
“We have also gathered information on some of the other militants. Attempts to arrest them are underway,” he added.
Local police sources said the militants chose to use this den in Fatullah’s Sehachar as it was near Dhaka.