ABT plans sabotage ahead of JS polls

Md Esaraf Hossain

22nd October, 2018 10:18:26 printer

Ansarullah Bangla Team, a banned militant outfit posing a major threat to country’s law and order, is planning to carry out acts of sabotage ahead of the upcoming national election, detective sources said.  

Its kingpin Ziaul Huq Zia, a sacked army major, and other militants, who have gone into hiding, are trying to re-organise themselves, sources added.

They are making a blueprint to distablise the country through acts of sabotage just ahead of the Jatiya Sangsad elections, the sources said.

Their plan has been known from the confessional statements of some recently arrested activists of the militant outfit.

According to police sources, Major Zia has been acting as the coordinator of Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT).

Law enforcers have been looking for him for the last one and half years, but they are yet  to trace him out.

Not only Zia, other ABT members, who are still carrying out their organisational activities secretly, are yet to be arrested.

On Sunday, law enforcers detained seven ABT members from Faridganj upazila of Chandpur.

Police caught them as they were holding a secret meeting ‘to carry out an act of sabotage’, police said. 

The detainees are Md Kawsar Hamid, 19, Mahmudur Rahman, 24, Md Rashedul Islam, 25, Kamrul Hasan, 27, Niyamat Ullah, 26, Md Habibur Rahman 30, and Fazlul Karim, 30.

“They are all ABT members,” Superintendent of Chandpur Police Jihadul Kabir said at a press conference on Sunday.

Recently, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested three suspected ABT members in Rupganj of Narayanganj.

They were identified as Rezaur Rahman, 27, Abu Raihan, 28 and Mobarak Hossain, 33.

Last year, three Bangladeshi youths were arrested in Lucknow, the capital city of India’s Uttar Pradesh, for their suspected links with the outlawed militant outfit.

The three -- Mohammad Imran, Rajiuddin and Mohammad Firdaus -- were detained in Lucknow as they were getting on  Howrah-Amritsar Express train, report Indian newspapers, quoting Inspector General of Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) Asim Arun.

In 2015, ABT, an al-Qaeda-inspired Islamist outfit, was banned by Bangladesh government for its militant and anti-state activities.

Ansarullah has been accused of a series of attacks on secular writers, bloggers and publishers in Bangladesh.

Blogers Rajib Haider alias Thaba Baba, Avijit Roy, Washikur Rahman Babu, Ananto Bijoy Das, Niladri Chatarji Niloy, Publisher-cum-bloger Arifen Faisal Dipon, Najim, Julhas Mannan and Tonoy were murdered by these Islamic fanatic militants at different parts of the country, including capital Dhaka, in last several years.

While investigating the murders, it was found that style and strategy of all the murders are almost same in nature.

Except for Julhas and Tanoi murders, ABT disclosed their involvement in rest of the murders.

In most of the cases, the motives of the cases were not unearthed. Killers were not arrested. Even, the accused are yet to be traced out.

Monirul Islam, the counter terrorism police unit chief, said, “Ansarullah Bangla Team has lost much of its organisational strength in recent years following the killings of some of its key leaders in anti-militancy drives. They have not enough strength to carry out further major attack.”

Over the last three years, suspected militants attacked and killed teachers, writers, publishers, secular bloggers, gay rights activists, foreigners, policemen and members of religious minorities, including Shia and Sufi Muslims, Christians and Hindus.

About 50 people have become victims of such targeted killings since February 2013.