A recruiter of banned militant outfit Ansar al Islam has been arrested from Bangladesh’s border Naogaon district by the Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU), police said on Thursday.
Sarwar Hossain alias Alif, 25, from Atrai upazila in Naogaon, was arrested on Wednesday night after police found him propagating militancy online and trying to recruit new militants for the banned outfit, ATU’s SP, Media and Awareness, Aslam Khan, told IANS.
A case was filed against him under the Anti-Terrorism Act with Naogaon Sadar Police Station.
On June 12, police’s Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit had arrested Ansar’s militant trainer and recruiter, Shakhawat Ali Lalu, who had been fought with a Sunni Islamist Muslim group in Syria since 2017 and trained in using heavy weapons, from Chattogram. He had also been in Indonesia, where he was involved in militant activities, since 2019 before returning home some months ago.
CTTC unit Sub Inspector Rasib Khan told IANS that Shakhawat, 40, who has also studied in India’s Bengaluru before going to the UK in 2007, was brought into militancy by his relatives Arif and Mamun, after returning home in 2011. Shakhawat joined Ansar Al Islam in 2012 and worked for recruitment and publicity, police had told IANS.
CTTC unit also said Shakhawat had met most wanted top militant, Ansar co-founder and sacked army officer, Major Syed Ziaul Haque.
Earlier, four Ansar militants had been arrested in May for plotting to carry out attacks on the patrols of police and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), and for also trying to make explosive devices using oxygen cylinders, CTTC chief Md Asaduzzaman had said.
Police also said two Ansar members had fled to Afghanistan, and these four were also planning to go there fter carrying out the attacks. Recently, they also had carried out an attack a hotel in Sylhet city with sharp weapons, leaving its manager injured.
The militants of the banned militant outfit, linked with Al Qaeda, claimed responsibilities for 11 machete attacks since 2013 when 13 secular personages and activists of the Shahbagh Movement, were hacked to death in Dhaka, Rajshahi and Sylhet as punishment for demanding that war criminals of 1971 be hanged.