MNA Editorial Desk: Four militants arrested in Uttara were planning to murder a newspaper editor, the Rapid Action Battalion has said. The suspected members of banned Ansarullah Bangla Team were caught by the elite police unit during a raid at the suburb area on early Friday.
The details were provided in a briefing at the RAB’s media center following the arrests.
The suspects have been identified as Md Shahriar Nafis aka Ammar Hossain, 20, Rasel aka Sajedul Islam Gifari, 24, Md Rabiul Islam aka Nurul Islam, 28 and Md Abdul Malek, 31.
RAB said they were planning to kill the editor of a national daily, which published a criticism of hadith, or Islamic tradition, on marriage.
The article was published on the newspaper on Jul 28 last year, for which the militants blamed the editor, whose name was left out in the briefing.
The RAB operation foiled the plans, said Mohammad Mufti Mahmud Khan, director of the elite force’s media wing. The Ansarullah Bangla Team have been trying to reorganize activities, the suspects told detectives during questioning.
Their priority was to ensure the release of their chief Jashim Uddin Rahmani from prison. They had plans to bust him out in case legal proceedings failed to secure his freedom.
The arrestees were already gathering funds for the operation, said the RAB official.
Among the arrestees, Nafis aka Ammar had planned a murder in Bogura last week, but decided to not carry it out because by then it was nightfall.
Nafis and Rabiul hail from Bogura’s Charmukhshia. Rasel and Malek are from Fulkachia and Hasanhanj area in Bhola respectively.
The Ansarullah Bangla Team came into focus following the 2013 murder of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider. Mufti Jasim Uddin Rahmani, who heads the organization, has been in jail since being convicted of the murder.
Bangladesh government banned the outfit in 2015. Ansarullah members then began regrouping under a new banner of ‘Ansar al-Islam’, according to detectives.
The detectives also believe that former army major Syed Mohammad Ziaul Haque, one of the main suspects behind a foiled coup in 2012, may be involved with the organization.
In 2017, Bangladesh banned all activities of the Ansar al-Islam.
Militants from Ansarullah Bangla Team and Ansar al-Islam are also believed to be responsible for the 2015 murder of writer Avijit Roy and other similar killings.