Two Ansar al-Islam militants held in Bangladesh

Two militants of the banned Ansar al-Islam militant outfit were arrested on Friday by Bangladesh’s elite police force, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), from Pallabi and Shibalaya areas of Manikganj, near Dhaka, officials said.

The two, arrested in separate raids, were identified as Sajib Hossain Khan, 22, and Abdullah Zayed, 19. Jihadi books and leaflets were seized from their possession.

A RAB official told IANS that Khan was an active member of Ansar al-Islam and in regular contact with other militants. Meanwhile, Zayed used social media to contact members of Ansar using various anonymous IDs.

Ansar al-Islam used to broadcast various speeches and extremist videos to motivate its members, including online-based action plans.

Based on their initial interrogation, both of the militants have been arrested, the RAB official said.

The militants were active in distorting Islamic interpretations and blackmailing the devotees in the name of religion. They have generally used social media as a platform to incite militancy, RAB-4’s operations officer, ASP Ziaur Rahman Chowdhury told IANS. Legal action is being taken against them, he added.

The ASP also said that both militants were arrested on the basis of interrogation of two more other Ansar Al-Islam militants arrested on April 19.