Preventing IS Militants’ Entry

Airports, land ports under surveillance

Md Esaraf Hossain

26th March, 2019 09:39:41 printer

The police have intensified surveillance at all international airports and land ports to prevent Bangladesh-born IS militants from retuning to their homeland from Syria.

Intelligence sources said security personnel have been put on high alert so that no IS militants can enter Bangladesh through any airports or land ports.

The security measures were taken shortly after the US government called for trial of the arrested IS militants in their own countries.

About 800 foreign militants, mostly IS fighters, have been rounded up in the war-torn Syria, as their last stronghold was demolished there on Saturday.

Police sources said Bangladesh government has no such any will to return Bangladeshis who went to join IS militants in Syria.

Monirul Islam, chief of the counter-terrorism police unit, recently said some Bangladeshi-born militants are trying to return home.

“So, we’ve intensified surveillance at all international airports and land ports in Bangladesh to thwart militants’ return.”

He further said militants’ photographs and other particulars have been given to the airport immigration and intelligence branches so that they can’t avoid arrest.

Monirul also said that his unit has listed about 20 names who had left Bangladesh for Syria.

“We have information that most of them have been killed. We think that those who are still in Iraq or Syria won’t be able to enter Bangladesh because their names are with the immigration police,” he said.

“These people have been blacklisted. The immigration police are being very cautious about this. We’re putting close watch on those who have come here from countries like Iraq or Syria.”

When contacted, Alamgir Hossain, additional superintendent of police (APBN) working at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, said that security has been tightened after getting such information.

An intelligence source said at least 50 people left the country to join IS, and the similar number of foreigners can also be added to the list.

According to an intelligence report, at least 38 Bangladeshis have travelled through various countries to reach Syria and join the IS.

Of them, 13 have gone through Singapore, nine through Turkey, seven through Malaysia, four through UAE, two through Japan and one each through Qatar, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Zubaidur Rahim from Dhaka’s Dhanmondi left for Syria on January 20, 2014.

He had studied at the European Standard School in Dhaka and then at Malaysia’s University of Creative Technology. He went to Tehran from Dhaka and then to Syria.

On November 5 that year, Dr Arafat Hossain Tushar, a dentist, went to Syria via Istanbul. Nazibullah Ansari left for Iraq in January 2015. Tahmid Rahman Safi, a musician, left on April 23 for Turkey and from there to Syria.

Safi and Tushar appeared in a video purportedly released from Syria right after the terrorist attacks in Gulshan, hailing the attackers as heroes and calling for more attacks.

On July 8, Ibrahim Hasan Khan, a student from Dhaka’s Bashundhara Residential Area, left the country for Syria.

His brother Junayed Hasan Khan went with him. The two posted a photo on Facebook in September 2016, dressed in full IS-style garb, sporting guns and an IS flag.

Ashraf Mohammad Islam and Asadullah Galib, both residents of Kalabagan in Dhaka, also left sometime in 2015.

ATM Tajuddin flew to Istanbul from Dhaka in February 2013 and that was the last his family heard from him.

Two brothers from Dhaka’s Kathalbagan, Mainuddin Sharif and Rezwan Sharif, left with their families for Malaysia. Detectives suspect they went to Syria from there.