Youths, especially students, are allegedly getting engaged in militancy in the country under the banner of new militant outfit Jama'atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has got such information after arresting five leaders and members of the militant group.
A police record said that a total of 55 students of schools and colleges in different parts of the country have left their homes and remained ‘missing’.
Law enforcers have already identified at least 38 of the ‘missing’ youths.
These youths are reportedly receiving armed training from the militant organisation in hilly regions of Bandarban district to carry out sabotage in the country.
Fifteen youths from Cumilla, seven from Sylhet, six from Patuakhali, four each from Narayanganj and Dhaka, three from Barishal, two each from Madaripur, Faridpur and Jhalakathi and one each from Sunamganj, Khulna, Chandpur, Jhenaidah, Tangail, Netrokona, Noakhali, Brahmanbaria, Mymensingh and Magura.
“We have got the detailed information about 38 youths, including their names and addresses. Efforts are underway to collect information about the rest,” RAB Legal and Media Wing Director Commander Khandaker Al Moin told a press briefing in the capital on Monday.
In such a situation, law enforcers have been conducting joint operations in remote areas of Chattogram Hill Tracts (CHT) region against Jama'atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya.
The new militant outfit is reportedly working to mislead youths, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) said after arresting five of its leaders and operatives in Jatrabari and Keraniganj of Dhaka.
The arrestees are Shah Md Habibullah alias Habib, Neyamot Ullah, Md Hussain, Rakib Hasnat alias Niloy and Md Saiful Islam Rony alias Jayed Chowdhury.
Five booklets and around 300 booklet pamphlets of the neo-militant organisation along with five bags were recovered from their possession.
These people were kept in safe houses in different areas of Patuakhali and Bhola where they would get physical training to carry out militant attacks.
RAB believes that all of these people are secretly receiving training in remote areas of Chattogram hilly tracts.
The crime-busting force came to know the rise of the new militant outfit after the arrest of several ‘missing’ youths who secretly joined the organisation.
The organisation started operating back in 2017, collecting members from various banned militant groups.
In 2019, it was renamed ‘Jama'atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya’, said Khandaker Al Moin after the arrest of seven members of the new outfit in raids on different places earlier this month. According to the RAB, the militant group was preparing for armed attacks, recruiting people from different parts of the country and training them in several stages.
The regional leaders of this radical group recruit operatives mainly through theoretical discussions, infuriating people against the government, law enforcement, and the constitution, and promising to serve Islam.
The RAB director said they were given physical and organisational training step by step in remote char areas of Bhola and Patuakhali.
Apart from organisational training, they were given technical training to disguise themselves in different professions, he added.
Earlier, at a press conference on October 6, RAB claimed to have arrested seven people, including four youths who went missing from their homes in Cumilla and elsewhere.
Militants formed outfits JMB and Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) in Bangladesh during the rise of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the world.
Al-Qaeda receded after the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011, but militants in Bangladesh had a new outfit to fall for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS.
Neo-JMB, a revived faction of JMB that followed ISIS, made international headlines by killing 22 people, including 17 foreign diners, in the July 1, 2016 attack on the Holey Eatery in Dhaka’s Gulshan.
Law enforcement agencies killed at least 66 militant suspects, including top leaders of the newly organised militants, in a crackdown after the unprecedented attack.
Last month, a team of the Anti-Terrorism Unit, a specialised unit of Bangladesh Police, arrested a fugitive member of the banned militant outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh in Narsingdi.