Hunt underway for leader of Al Qaeda-affiliated group in B’desh

A hunt is underway for Mahmudul Hasan Gunbi, the top leader of ‘Dawatul Islam’, an Al Qaeda-linked militant outfit in Bangladesh.

According to authorities, Dawatul Islam follow the ‘Manhaji’ school of thought of the Hefazat-e-Islam and Ansar al-Islam militant outfits.

While Gunbi is still on the run, Dawatul Islam’s two other leaders Harun Izhar and Ali Hasan Osama have been arrested.

Earlier, Maulana Nazimuddin, who was the ’emir’ of the organisation, was arrested more than once on charges of involvement in militancy.

A case was filed against Gunbi for planning an attack on the parliament building.

Harun Izhar is the son of Mufti Izharul Islam, one of the founders of Hefazat-e-Islam.

Mufti Izhar has published a book on the slain Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, in which he claims to have met the latter while working for the terror group in Kabul for more than three years.

Dawatul Islam has set up two militant hideouts at Lama and Khagrachari in Bandarban district.

There are more than 50 militant leaders active in the hill tracts.

Gunbi’s pictures with various leaders of Hefazat have been posted by the group on their social media accounts.

Authorities allege that Gunbi lures people in the hill tract areas under the garb of “inviting people to Islam”, an official said on the condition of anonymity, adding that innocent youngsters fall prey to the militants’ fake identity.

Senior officials of the detective branch told IANS that Gunbi, known for his extremist views, is also the incumbent spiritual leader of Ansar al-Islam.