Militants are preparing to carry out attacks on prominent persons, including ruling party leaders, intellectuals and secular bloggers, in the country ahead of the next general election, detective sources said.
They said the militants are carrying out secret work to kill the targeted persons and collecting new members and finance for their organisations.The militants having link with international terrorist outfits like al-Qaida and Syria- and Iraq-based Islamic State are belonging to different banned militant outfits, including JMB and Ansarullah Bangla Team.
An intelligence agency has recently submitted such a report to police headquarters.
In the report, the agency fears fresh militant attacks in the country.
In the face of a massive crackdown by law enforcers, the runaway militants of different banned outfits are now taking shelter in remote areas of different districts, including Chapainawabganj, Rajshahi, Rangpur and Bogura.
Sources said the operatives of militant outfits, including Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJi) and Ansarullah Bangla Team, are operating there in disguise.
Other militant dens busted by law enforcement agencies in Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj districts were also situated in remote, isolated villages as well as in char areas on dried river beds.Ansarullah Bangla Team released a statement in September last year demanding that citizenship of all Bangladeshi writers, bloggers and activists who have criticised Islamic extremism be revoked.
“Otherwise they will be killed wherever they can be found in the Almighty’s world,” the statement said.
Many leaders and activists of militant outfits, including Ansarullah Bangla Team and JMB, who are staying either in jails or hideouts, are reportedly directing their fellow activists through mobile phones or handwritten letters to carry out subversive acts in the country, detective sources said.
Militants of the banned outfits are still threatening to kill many intellectuals.
Though the law enforcers arrested some of the militant activists recently, many of the listed militants are still at large.
At least 16 people were killed in attacks in the last three years. The dead included six secular bloggers, two university professors, an Italian priest, two other foreigners working in development sector, and a prominent gay activist.
Other targets have included high-profile cultural and intellectual figures, but also very private individuals, apparently murdered simply because Islamists objected to their lifestyle.
Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, 65, a faculty member of computer science and engineering department at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) in Sylhet, was attacked on the campus on March 3 this year. Wounded in the head and hands, he was flown to capital Dhaka for treatment.
He has been on the ‘death list’ of militants for years.
Anti-terror officials said the attack is similar to militant attacks on Bangladeshi bloggers, writers and academics by Ansar Al-Islam, a banned local militant outfit pledging allegiance to al-Qaida. A senior Detective Branch (DB) official said the militant groups having link with some International terrorist outfits staying at different clandestine hideouts in the capital city and its outskirts are planning to carry out subversive activities afresh.
“We became sure about the presence of a number of such militant activists and their possible operational activities in the capital after the arrest of a number of militant activists from the capital’s Tongi, Abdullahpur, Gazipur and Tangail areas,” the DB officer said.
Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Asaduzzaman Miah said, “We are working to detain militants. They are the enemies of civil society, nation and even Islam.”