Bangladesh War without end
By S. Binodkumar Singh
On16 November 2017, police raided a house at Nawduli village in the Naogaon District (in Northern Bangladesh) and arrested five cadres of the Neo-Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (Neo-JMB). Police recovered two foreign-made pistols, 13 rounds, electronic devices, explosives and grenade making materials from their possession.
On 7 November 2017, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested two cadres of Ansar al-Islam from the Narayanganj District's Siddhirganj area in Bangladesh. RAB recovered local weapons, jihadi literature and leaflets from their possession.
On 31 October 2017, RAB arrested four Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) cadres, including a pilot of Bangladesh's national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines, in the capital Dhaka city's Darus Salam area. The four were planning to attack houses of government high-ups and to take air passengers hostage in the Middle East.
On 29 October 2017, in a counter-terrorism (CT) drive, RAB arrested three Neo-JMB cadres from Balabona village of Chapainawabganj District. RAB recovered a pistol, one magazine, three bullets, 1.1 kilogram explosive substances and three books on jihad from their possession.
On 18 October 2017, two recruiters of Neo-JMB identified as Mohammad Gias Uddin, 34, and Mohammad Liton, 34, were arrested from Sabujbagh and Wari areas in Dhaka city.
In its unremitting effort against terrorist formations in Bangladesh since the Gulshan Cafe attack on 1 July 2016, according to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), 103 Islamist terrorists have been killed and another 1,379 arrested across Bangladesh. Prominent among those killed were the Neo-JMB leader and mastermind of the Gulshan Cafe attack, Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury aka Shaykh Abu Ibrahim Al Hanif aka Amir,30; the JMB 'military commander' for the northern region Khaled Hasan aka Badar Mama, 30; Neo-JMB 'military commander' Murad aka Jahangir Alam aka Omar; JMB 'regional commander' Tulu Mollah, 33; JMB 'regional coordinator' Abu Musa aka Abujar; Neo-JMB 'military chief' Aminur Islam aka Alam, 23; Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B) 'chief' Mufti Abdul Hannan; and HUJI-B 'regional commander' Tajul Islam Mahmud aka Mama Hujur, 46, (data till 19 November, 2017).
To expand its anti-terror operations to hunt down suspected extremists, the government approved a full-fledged Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) with a nationwide jurisdiction to combat militancy and terrorism, on 20 September 2017. The Home Ministry issued a notification after the approval of the Ministry of Finance. According to the government order, the 581-member ATU will be headed by an Additional Inspector General of Police (AIGP). The unit will work solely on terrorism related issues and combating terrorists.
The new unit will have one Deputy Inspector General (DIG), two Additional Deputy Inspector General (ADIGs), five Superintendents of Police (SPs), 10 Additional Superintendents of Police, 12 Assistant Superintendents of Police, 75 Inspectors, 125 Sub-Inspectors, 140 Assistant Sub-Inspectors, 200 Constables, and 10 office staffs. In addition, the unit will have 16 jeeps, two SWAT vans, eight double cabin pickups, one ambulance, one truck, an armored personnel carrier (APC), one water canon van, one prison van and 10 motorcycles.
Further, on 25 October 2017, to curb controversy regarding the madrasa education system, the government directed Bangladesh Madrasa Education Board to remove the chapters on Jihad. The new textbooks of the Bangladesh Madrasa Education Board will not contain any chapters with lessons on Jihad, for the first time in nearly four decades. The Bangladesh Madrasa Education Board also known as the Alia Madrasa Education Board is one of three types of madrasa education systems in Bangladesh, along with the Qawmi and Hifz madrasas.
Since the inception of the board in 1979, chapters on Jihad were included in the madrasa textbooks from class VIII to the degree level. Jihad has been defined in madrasa textbooks as a "struggle or fight against the enemies of Islam". Moreover, on 7 November 2017, the government shut down Lakehead Grammar School for patronizing militancy. In a letter signed by the Education Ministry's Joint Secretary Salma Jahan, the ministry observed that the school was inspiring religious extremism, building extremist organizations, and carrying out activities against the nation and its independence.
In a startling revelation at the meeting of the National Committee on Militancy Resistance and Prevention in Dhaka on 4 September 2017, members from security agencies disclosed that 440 persons accused in 331 terrorism related cases had fled the country after getting bail. Frustratingly, an official of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, seeking anonymity, noted, "We work tirelessly for months to put these terrorists behind bars and then all that hard work goes down the drain when they are granted bail and flee the country. Once they are out, these terrorists either go into hiding or start their terrorist activities all over again. If this keeps happening, we cannot stop militancy in Bangladesh." According to different law enforcement agencies, more than 200 suspected terrorists are out on bail since January 2017. Most of these are members of Neo-JMB, old JMB, Ansar al-Islam, HuJI-B and Hizb-utTahrir. It is usually the delay in investigation and legal proceedings that allow terrorists to take advantage of the system.
In another revelation, on 1 October 2017, ATU officials disclosed that terrorist outfits have apparently smartened up and become tech-savvy, as they are increasingly using encrypted communications applications (apps) to maintain communications online, making it harder for law enforcement agencies to trace them. They noted that terrorists initially used popular apps like Facebook and its Messenger, and Google Hangouts to communicate, but had recently begun shifting to encrypted messaging apps such as Threema, Telegram and Wickr to maintain secrecy. Terrorists also use WhatsApp, Viber, Tango, Hike and several other similar apps, as most of them also have the encryption facility, but they are rapidly switching platforms to avoid detection. They may also use Silent Circle, Signal, Chat Secure, OS Tel or Red Phone, which are highly advanced and more privacy-conscious messaging apps, in the future.
If they do this, tracing their secret and online networks will prove even more challenging. For instance, Abu Siddique Sohel aka Sakib aka Sajid (34), an Ansar Al Islam terrorist told Police during interrogation that their 'big brother' Major Zia communicated with all the members of the organization through secret apps. Sohel was arrested on 5 November 2017, in connection with the murder of writer-blogger Avijit Roy in Dhaka city's Mohammadpur area on 26 February 2015. Sohel added that every member of the organization had to attend to the app at a particular time every day. Earlier, during the International Police Conference held in Dhaka city from 12-14 March 2017, Bangladesh police disclosed that research on 250 arrested terrorists found that 82 per cent of them had become involved with their respective terror outfits online.
S. Binodkumar Singh is a
Research Associate; Institute
for Conflict Management
Solution must be acceptable to Tamils Separate State is not a reasonable request - Former Army Commander, General Gerry De Silva RWP, VSV, USP
- Beetle in Lankan tea shipment to Russia Exporter to be spared says Pethiyagoda
- Canadian Police probe ‘suspicious’ deaths of billionaire couple
- Stock Market Investor losses extend to Rs 94B
- Use of polythene in political rallies CEA to take on offenders
- Draft Legislation HRCSL advice not sought – UN Experts
- Drugs and drug users on the increase
- No NICs for 500,000 Lankans 300,000 are registered voters Bulk without birth certificates
- Growth decelerates to 3.3%
- UN damns Lanka 14,000 minors in childcare centres Calls for urgent reforms
- Russia restricts Lanka tea over beetle scare Top-level delegation off to Moscow
- Call to criminalize marital rape Justice Ministry seeks Cabinet approval
- Jumbo killings Armed protection unit to be set up Fines, jail terms to be increased
- Crossovers loom prior to polls
- SC issues notice on Elections Chief
- Jilted SLFP shuns JO forever
- CEB TU threatens strike Gives 18th as ultimatum
- Gnanasara Thera’s request for foreign travel denied
- Chinese envoy says OBOR will take Sino-Lanka ties to new level
- Police Chief in pre-poll warning Errant officers will be dealt with strictly
- Court extends Stay Order on Gota case
- Sriyani as State Minister of PCs and LG JO crossover pledged support for MS
- Rains to prevail Landslide warning to Galle, Kalutara to be reviewed
- BJP lauds ‘Ram Setu’ findings Hits out at critics
- Two held for impersonation at exam centre
- Female Genital Mutilation Advice sought from medical experts
- Visakhapatnam will favour the home team Batsmen to dominate decider
- Jadeja hits six sixes in an over
- Ntini’s son Thando in SA U-19 World Cup squad
- Neves stunner guides Wolves
- Westbrook nets triple double for Thunder
- Don’t see me making a WI comeback - Dwayne Bravo
- FIFA threatens to boot Spain out of World Cup
- SL lose two matches in T10s
- Army can dominate Air Force
- Smith and Marsh put attack to sword
- Sri Lanka play two Tests and Tri series in Bangladesh
- Chiefs winners in Kandy 10s
- Interesting battle at Havelock Park
- Thurstan win inaugural golf tourney
- History making Pulisic US men’s footballer of the year
- Knicks down Nets despite early exit for Porzingis
- 34th Mercantile Individual Tournament 2017 McLarens shuttlers Overall Champions
- Retired Hewitt takes tilt at Aussie Open doubles
- Lamborghini World Final 2017 Malagamuwa finishes third
- Committee clears Thilaka as SL coach
- Govt backtracks on anti-coal policy Two 600MW coal plants coming up
- Lankan company in pioneering global innovation
- Increasing worker remittances: Not a sign of prosperity
- Russian ban on Sri Lankan tea imports Navin to rush to Russia Ban comes into effect tomorrow, despite preventive efforts
- Dialog, RPC in CSE’s S&P SL20
- ADB loans Government US$ 270 million
- Japan expands unilateral sanctions against North Korea
- Purchasing Managers’ Index accelerates
- THASL educates Deputy Principals on Hospitality Management
- Financial Intelligence Unit signs MoU with Sri Lanka Police
- US Embassy & ICTA organize Knowledge Sharing Session
- CIM announces 2017 Board of Trustees CIM to be headed by leading marketing talent from across the industry
- Bolstering tourism: Starting from the top
- HNB wins two at CA Sri Lanka Annual Report Awards 2017
- Subhash Pinnapola launches ‘Storybook’ creative agency
- Mother Sri Lanka Movement launches series of activities
- Assets for debt, a flawed strategy
- Envisioning the future of Digital Banking
- Bank of Ceylon launches digital passbook
- Siyapatha Finance opens new branch in Panadura
- Protect Wilpattu Movement set in motion 5K strong turnout march in peaceful protest to UN office & handover petition
- Concretes & Abstracts Faith, Wayside Shrines & Urban Sprawl
- TGTE using Lawyers to challenge SL’s 6th amendment
- Christmas cheer is in the air!
- So, this is Christmas!
- New Land Draft BiLL Political wrangling hinders ironing out complex land issues
- We (don’t) need a Messiah Champika has failed to maintain what Mangala designed and Gota delivered
- M12M on the campaign trail Spotlight on polls and criminal elements
- Lord Naseby vs the Sri Lanka Campaign War is over, but body count debate continues
- Women’s quota in LG elections Historic opportunity Elect qualified, capable women– not wives & relatives of thugs
- Maithri should not sit in a Cabinet sans SLFPers
- Wigneswaran sowing seeds of communalism
- SLFP supports devolution of power – Lasantha Alagiyawanna
- If Bond scammers are not prosecuted…President will lose his credibility –Bandula Gunawardena
- All information security issues are not cyber crimes
- Sirisena Presidency - A Parallax View As foretold by Sobhitha Hamuduruwo
- Blessed are the peacemakers
- Disinformation campaigns and public mistrust
- Kemadruma Yoga An evil yoga cancelling all other favourable yogas
- Sun into Sagittarius ‘Kona Month’ has just begun
- Inviting wrath of goddess Lakshmi
- Five Yoga Poses to Calm Your Mind
- Rahu in 7th House and marriage
- The Disaster Artist: The (un)making of a movie
- Our children and our cinema
- INTERPRETING ASIAN CINEMA: CHALLENGES AHEAD
- How Sanskrit journalism is slowly hogging headlines
- ice manufacturing in South Asia
- CMSC’s season finale concert
- Two documentaries on Sri Lanka in Film South Asia 2017
- Politics of nostalgia
- Kite Surfing Lanka Kalpitiya An experience of a lifetime
- Ella and mini Adam’s Peak
- A cave of history -Ravana Cave
- I don’t get asked out
- Homemade apple & Chocolate Bodywash
- THE WRITER’S KITCHENETTE HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS CUPCAKES Grinch Cupcakes
- New York Blast Terror charges filed against NY bomber
- Saga of Kohukumbure Rate Rala
- Attygalle murder and John Kotelawala Senior’s suicide