|[Bangla Daily Star] Law enforcers believe outlawed which came to the limelight for its synchronised bombing across the country six years ago, has almost no strength left to carry out any subversive activities.|
The network of the outfit has totally collapsed with the arrests of its members of all tiers in massive crackdowns and its strength has almost waned, say officials of police and .
They however add JMB still has its roots, but there is hardly any chance of rearing their heads since they are under strong vigilance.
The Islamist outfit grasped the spotlight as a hardcore organization blasting 459 time bombs in 63 districts on August 17, 2005 that left two persons killed and 50 others injured.
In subsequent attacks, they also killed a number of people including two judges in Jhalakathi, sending a chill through the nation.
JMB founding ameer Sheikh Abdur Rahman along with his second-in-command Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai and four others was executed on March 30, 2007 in the judges killing case.
Since the attacks, 356 cases have been filed against around 800 JMB members and law enforcers have so far 656 of them. Of the cases, 142 cases were filed in connection with the August 17 blasts against 443 JMB leaders and operatives.
Among the 142 cases, the courts pronounced verdicts in 78 cases giving death sentence to 24 accused, life term imprisonment to 92 and imprisonment to 77 others on different terms. Besides, 171 of the accused were acquitted.
a High Court bench last month delivered a dissenting verdict in the Jhenidah blast case filed on August 17, 2005 in connection with the JMB bombing.
Two judges of the HC bench gave a split verdict. One judge acquitted all the 21 convicted by the trial court, saying charges brought against them were not found to be proved. On the other hand, the other judge acquitted seven accused and gave life imprisonment to the rest.
The HC bench delivered the split verdict after holding hearing on the death reference of the case and jail appeals filed by the accused against their conviction.
Law enforcers suspect Sohail Mahfuz is now the JMB's helmsman after the arrest of ex- chief Moulana Saidur Rahman in June last year in the city. Sohail is an arrogant person and is skilled in making powerful bombs including belt bombs.
"But he alone cannot do anything. To execute a plan, he needs a network in all tiers, but he does not have any," said Rab legal and media wing director Commander M Sohail.
The Rab director however said they are not dismissing any possibility and that is why they are always vigilant against JMB activities.
Lt Col Ziaul Ahsan, intelligence wing director of Rab, told The Daily Star yesterday the banned outfit has again started some activities in some northern districts including Rajshahi, Dinajpur and Thakurgaon.
the activities are limited to recruitment of members and fund collection, he added.
|JMB still getting plenty of funds|
|Financial strength of organisation Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh has been a grave concern for law enforcement agencies as the banned outfit is reportedly getting more than Tk 50 lakh a month from local and foreign sources.|
JMB's activities have lately appeared on the wane following the arrest of its top brass, including its chief Moulana Saidur Rahman, and explosives experts.
But law enforcers involved with anti-militancy drives believe its network of financial support survives intact. The flow of fund in the form of supporters' monthly contributions, Zakat and donation apparently remains uninterrupted.
The officers, however, could not say who handles the funds after the arrest of Saidur in May. The JMB chief himself was in charge of its finance division.
Of their monthly earning, around Tk 6 lakh is being sent by around 3,000 JMB supporters staying in Australia, England, Italy, Canada, Malaysia and middle-east countries, according to a statement made by Saidur at Taskforce for Interrogation cell recently.
They send cash to their families mainly via people including friends and relatives. A portion of the money goes to JMB fund.
Most of the 3,000 sympathisers belong to Ahle Hadith community, a top detective branch official quoted Saidur as saying.
Saidur also claimed to have received 18,000 British pounds and 1,500 US dollars -- equivalent to around Tk 20 to 22 lakh -- at the end of 2008 and early 2009 from a person named Ahmed.
Investigators could not say any further about Ahmed, as JMB never uses real name or identity.
Saidur also said Mamun, a person who was involved in fake currency business in India, had been donating Tk 50,000 every month to JMB fund until he was .
The Daily Star obtained a copy of Saidur's statement.
Saidur, also the former ameer of Habiganj district Jamaat-e-Islami, disclosed JMB gets cash around Tk 50 to Tk 60 lakh in Ramadan.
In Bangla month of Baishakh they also get around Tk 10 lakh mainly from North Bengal in the form of Zakat and Ushr (a portion of harvested crop given as donation).
The statement also reads the highest earning by a unit (comprising several villages) is Tk 10 to 12 thousand, by a upazila unit Tk 50,000, a district unit Tk 2 lakh and a divisional unit Tk 5 to 6 lakh.
An Esher (full-time) member is put in charge of each of the financial units.
Money collected from members' monthly contribution and other sources is first deposited to the unit chief. After meeting the unit's expenditure he sends the surplus to the organisation's upazila level.
Thus money flows through different tiers -- village, upazila, district and division. Finally, if there is any left over, it goes to the finance division head.
Saidur as the finance division boss was accountable to four Majlish-e-Sura (highest decision-making body) members.
Moreover, the outfit earns around Tk 50,000 from the organisations' Taxicabs, CNG-run three wheelers, vans and rickshaws.
JMB members used to operate those vehicles with two objectives -- to disguise as part of the masses and to get used to tough job.
Security and Defence analyst Prof Imtiaz Ahmed of Dhaka University International Relations department stressed the need for a big investment in research on militancy as s, who earlier used different channels and money laundering to send money, are exploring new systems to get the job done.
Lt Col Ziaul Ahsan, director of Rab's intelligence wing, said the militancy funding is really a concern for them as they usually don't know how are getting or spending the money.
Contacted, Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandker said they were inquiring into the matter.
|Another JMB kingpin held|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Detective branch (DB) of police arrested another top leader of banned militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh from the city's Sabujbagh on Saturday.|
On secrete information, a DB team arrested Shahed bin Hafiz from a road at Bashabo in the afternoon.
Shahed was a member of the JMB's first Majlish-e-Shura (highest decision-making body of the outfit), DB assistant commissioner Rafiqul Islam, who led the drive, told The Daily Star yesterday.
"Shahed was appointed as one of the six shura members at a meeting in which executed JMB chief Shaekh Abdur Rahman was appointed as the amir (chief)," said Rafiqul after primary interrogation.
Other shura members were Nasrullah of Thakurgaon, Rakib Hossain Russell alias Hafez Mahmood of Jamalpur, Alamgir Hossain Rana, Salahuddin alias Salehin of Mymensingh and Khaled Saifullah.
Shahed got introduced with two other executed JMB leaders Ataur Rahman Sunny and Khaled Saifullah while he was studying at Mohammadia Arabia Madrasa at Jatrabari in the city.
The two introduced him with Abdur Rahman and in no time Shahed became a trusted member of JMB.
Son of Hafizar Rahman of Pakulla village of Sonatola upazila in Bogra, 40-year-old Shahed has a cloth shop, Classic Fashion, at New Market in the town.
DB officials said they also collected Shahed's several photographs that show that he is an expert in martial art.
Shahed's arrest came after a couple of weeks into the arrest of JMB supremo Moulana Saidur Rahman with his wife and three other JMB leaders from Dhaka and Narayanganj.
|JMB now has no suicide squad|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday claimed that banned Islamist militant outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) now has no suicide squad.|
I've noticed that usually within a few days of that kind of statement somebody detonates in a crowded market.
Rab's has claimed this though even a few months back it claimed that they had arrested members of JMB suicide squad.
Rab in an anti-militant drive from 6:30pm on Saturday to 5:30am yesterday held the five JMB men from Mymensingh, Narsingdi and Jhenidah districts. The Rab ADG also said JMB activities have almost come to a halt as its command system has been almost broken down and limited to only invitational programmes.
"Wossa motta, Mahmoud?"
"I just can't subvert anymore!"
"There, there, buddy! It happens to all of us sometime!"
Replying to a question, Col Mizan, however, said JMB is trying to reorganise again through invitational activities. "Since JMB is trying to regroup again, we are launching drive against them and nabbing them," he said.
About the present JMB Chief Moulana Saidur Rahman, the Rab ADG said they are closing in on Saidur but yet to arrest him as he shifts his shelter quite frequently.
Of the five JMB men, Ehsar (fulltime) members Harmuz Ali alias Asgar Ali and Mohammad Yusuf were arrested in Mymensingh and Narsingdi respectively.
Gayeri ehsar (part-time) members Abu Raihan bin Sadek, Mohammad Hossain and Mohammad Kawsar Jinnuraine alias Laltu were held from Mymensingh, Narsingdi and Jhenidah respectively.
The Rab also recovered 20 books on jihad, 50 CDs, four cellphone sets, three lethal weapons and some bomb-making materials during the drive. The arrestees in helmets were paraded at the press conference. The Rab ADG said since 2005 they have arrested 12 majlish-e-shura (highest policy-making body) members, 44 eshar, 22 gayeri ehsar members and 90 JMB activists.
|JMB camp busted|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Rapid Action Battalion has busted a training camp of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh in a remote hill area in Khagrachhari and arrested five militants in last two days.|
The arrestees were paraded before the media at a press briefing at the Rab headquarters in Uttara yesterday afternoon.
Speaking to reporters there, Rahim said he, Naim and Majlish-e-Shura member Osman alias Shahid had planned an attack on BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia during her election campaign in Comilla last year.
Of them, Naim was nabbed by Rab. Though he and Osman managed to slip through the dragnet, their plan for assault on the former prime minister failed, he added.
At the briefing, Rab's Additional Director General Col Mizanur Rahman Khan said, "It took us around eight months of intelligence work to trace the camp in deep forest."
He said the camp, which has three earthen and tin-shed rooms, was not complete for training yet.
Rahim was building it on four acres of land purchased in the name of farming. Sajib, one of the arrestees, who owns a poultry farm in the area, had helped in the purchase.
Osman oversaw things in this regard on instructions from the outfit's present head Saidur Rahman.
"Naim, who was arrested at Chandina in Comilla last year, told us JMB had been shifting its training facilities to far-flung hills, and since then we have been keeping a close watch on the areas," Col Mizan said.
Around eight months back, the JMB bought the Matiranga land for around Tk 2 lakh.
"JMB activities are getting limited. We are closing in on those still at large and hope to arrest its current chief soon," he added.
Rahim, who is also known as Zahid, Habib and Saiful, said he joined JMB in 2004. He fled to Matiranga and took a job at Sajib's poultry farm after the countrywide blasts the following year.
A Rab press release said he is a key member of the JMB suicide squad. He hurled a bomb on the Rab team during the Comilla raid last year and ran away.
He stands accused in three cases filed in this connection.
At the briefing, Rab officials said Moulana Saidur Rahman's son Bashar plays a key role in running the organisation.
Seven members of Shura, highest policymaking body, are Shiblu alias Shishir, Sohel Mahfuz of Kushtia, Mehedi alias Abir of Barguna, Nazmul alias Bhagne Shahid of Natore, Osman alias Shahid of Comilla, Sayeem of Dhaka and Mahmud alias Asad of Panchagarh.
Of them, Shishir is in charge of the military wing, Sohel Mahfuz dawat (invitation) department, Mehedi southern districts, Nazmul northern region, Osman Chittagong division and Sayeem takes care of the IT wing.
The duties assigned to Mahmud could not yet be known.
Mostafiz alias Siddique of Gazipur works as an adviser to the banned outfit.
|JMB, Huji talk to operate together|
|[Bangla Daily Star] No effective measure was taken by any government to punish the patrons of the outlawed Islamist outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) that launched an unprecedented countrywide bomb attack on August 17, 2005.|
The law-enforcement agencies during their drives against militancy have so far arrested over 550 JMB militants including many of their top tier leaders. However, no initiative by the law enforcers was ever seen to bring the patrons of these militants to book.
A number of victims in northern Rajshahi region individually filed cases against some alleged patrons of JMB. But no comprehensive effort has been seen from the government to take steps against these alleged patrons. Former BNP minister Aminul Haque has been convicted by a court for patronising JMB and some other BNP leaders have been accused in cases filed by victims in Rajshahi region.
Following the March 2007 execution of JMB kingpins Abdur Rahman, Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai and four others, the government showed its firm stance to detect the outfit's political patrons and take stern action against them. The patrons of JMB would face the same punishment [execution] if they are found guilty, announced the then law adviser of the caretaker government. "The law enforcers are looking for the godfathers. If they are netted and we learn about their roles, they will face the same punishment," he said in March 2007.
It has already been over two years when present Inspector General of Police (IGP) Nur Mohammad said: "We have already tentatively identified the patrons of the organisation [JMB]." The ruling Awami League government also announced to take actions against the militant patrons.
Mysteriously enough, no action has been taken against anyone although names of some former BNP-Jamaat-led ruling alliance's political leaders, lawmakers and ministers surfaced as patrons of JMB in the northern districts. The investigators working at the diktat of the then government high-ups also did not take any move to detect and expose them.
The JMB has meanwhile been trying to regroup to regain its strength. Moreover, the outfit is being united with another banned Islamist outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami's (Huji) Bangladesh chapter despite having some differences of opinion. Sources say under the initiative of present JMB chief Moulana Saidur Rahman and Huji leader Omar the two outfits have recently held several meetings to discuss their unity move.
Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) Director General Hasan Mahmood Khandaker said they are aware of the latest move by the militants. "We are aware of their present activities and we are after them," said the Rab DG without elaborating.
But sources inside Rab, which is leading the anti-militant drive for last few years, say they did not yet infiltrate into the militant organisations. "If we could plant our sources in the militant outfits, we could have learned their every update soon after the development. And as we couldn't do it yet, we now operate drives based mainly on the information we obtain from the arrested militants," says a Rab official involved in the drive for long.
The sources say both JMB and Huji are divided into various groups due to internal feuds. But yet they have initiated the unity move to take revenge on the government for the execution of six JMB leaders and also the arrest of the leaders and activists of both the organisations. The sources add the JMB and Huji leaders have past relations as executed JMB chief Abdur Rahman formed his outfit in 1998 after defecting from Huji.
Talking to The Daily Star last night, former adviser to the caretaker government and former IGP SM Shajahan said, "It would not be possible to uproot militancy soon until taking measures against their patrons or guardians." He said, "We have significant achievement in anti-militant drive, but militancy is not a small problem. It should not be considered that militancy has been solved after arresting and executing some of their leaders and members."
Shajahan said before the blasts on August 17, 2005 the country had witnessed some other major blasts. "But we saw blame games in the political arena and misleading investigation to divert our eyes from the real focus, which inspired the real culprits.
"It was unexpected and no politics should be on the issue as we need united efforts involving people to solve this serious problem," he continued. "The total picture of the country's militancy problem is not clear yet as we don't know their many things including sources of money, arms, explosives and training. We think executed Abdur Rahman and Bangla Bhai are top most leaders of JMB, but I think they can have their patrons."
"We are also looking into whether anyone is working behind the scene and as part of the process, we already arrested a number of key persons who might be treated as the masterminds or patrons," the Rab DG said. "If anybody is found involved, we must go for action against them."
Some law enforcers involved with the anti-militant drives believe the "Anti-Terrorism Law", which has already been passed would help take legal steps against the masterminds and patrons. They think earlier there was no adequate law to bring the patrons or masterminds to book.
Sources say the law-enforcement and intelligence personnel arrested 555 JMB leaders since the August 17 blasts. Of them, 80 were arrested this year. Among the arrested JMB men, 46 are policymakers, 103 ehsar [full-time] members, 10 gaiyeri ehsar members, 17 suicide squad members and 379 are lower level leaders and activists.
The sources say Rab and police detained around 1,500 people suspecting them as JMB men. But after verification, only 555 of them were learned to have had links with JMB. Among the arrestees, six top brass leaders -- Abdur Rahman, Bangla Bhai, Abdul Auwal, Ataur Rahman Sunny, Khalid Saifullah and Iftekhar Hussain Al Mamun -- were executed.