6 extremists held over deadly attacks
BANGLADESH police said yesterday they had arrested six members of banned Islamist groups blamed for a series of deadly attacks, including the main suspect in the gruesome killing of a secular publisher.
Moinul Islam Shamim was arrested on the night of August 23 just outside of Dhaka for allegedly leading the fatal hacking attack on publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan in his office last year.
“Shamim is the main accused in the Dipan murder. Police had announced a reward for any information leading to his arrest,” deputy commissioner of Dhaka police Masruk Khaled said.
Mr Shamim “admitted during interrogation” to his involvement in the October murder of Mr Dipan who was a known publisher of books by secular and atheist writers, Mr Khaled said.
Mr Shamim is a suspected member of homegrown extremist group Ansarullah Bangla Team, which swears allegiance to a local branch of al-Qaeda and has claimed responsibility for similar murders of about a dozen secular activists.
The elite Rapid Action Battalion also stormed two hideouts on the outskirts of Dhaka and arrested five suspected members of banned Islamist outfit Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), including one of its leaders who used to study in Canada.
“They include Rasheduzzaman who took over as the JMB’s regional chief recently. He studied in a Canadian university between 2006 and 2012,” RAB spokesperson Mufti Mahmud Khan said.
The government has blamed the JMB for the July 1 attack on a Dhaka cafe in which 20 hostages, including 18 foreigners, were killed along with two policemen.
Meanwhile, police have abducted the son of a top war crimes convict, his family said.
More than 30 plainclothes officers seized Abdullahil Amaan Azmi, formerly a decorated brigadier general in the army, from his home in Dhaka on August 22, his family said.
Mr Azmi’s father, Ghulam Azam, the former head of the largest Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), was sentenced to 90 years in prison in 2013 for war crimes during the 1971 independence war against Pakistan. He died in prison in 2014.