Two youths — one son of a retired judge and another of a serving joint secretary — were held from the city on Wednesday on charge of trying to go to Syria to receive training under Syria-based al-Nusra Front, also known as al-Nusra brigade.
The al-Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra) is a militant rebel jihadist brigade fighting in Syria’s opposition and is widely believed to have links to al-Qaeda in Iraq.
The Detective Branch (DB) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) arrested the youths — as Asif Adnan, 26, and Fazle Elahi Tanzil, 24, — from Segunbagicha and Eskaton areas on Wednesday night. Both are members of Islamist militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team.
The detectives also recovered one computer, three mobile phone handsets, two USB drives and three CDs from their possession.
Briefing reporters at the DMP media centre, DB joint commissioner Monirul Islam said after their arrest, Asif Adnan and Fazle Elahi Tanzil confessed to having been inspired by the video speech of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to establish AQIS (Al Qaidah In Indian Sub-Continent) network in Bangladesh.
In a recent video speech, Zawahiri announced the creation of an Indian branch of his militant group to ‘raise the flag of jihad’ across South Asia, including Bangladesh.
Monirul Islam said the two arrested also disclosed that they had planned to go to Syria via Turkey undercover of Tablig Jamaat to take training under the Al Nusra brigade.
They also confessed to planning for taking part in armed fighting by establishing AQIS network after their return home, he added.
Scrutinizing messages from three mobile phones, the detectives came to know that Asif sent a message to Tanjil which reads: (I) “ I just want to be in the land of jihad. Among the Mujahideen. Living a life only for Allah,” (II) “It depends on the directives of AQIS and Nusra. If it is from Nusra then probably to khurasan, If it is AQIS then the focus is on Burma.”
The DB joint commissioner said the youths disclosed the names of their absconding associates. They revealed that one of their associates came to Bangladesh recently from the UK with a mission to establish an Islamic state here through militant activities as well as armed jihad, he added.
Earlier on Wednesday evening, another team of the DB arrested three suspected members of banned Islamic outfit Harkatul Jihad (HuJi).
The arrestees were identified as Khairul Islam, 24, a final year student of Engineering Department of Islamic University of Technology, Shafiqul Islam, 35, and Ahsanullah, 24, from Malibagh on Wedmesday evening.
The detectives also recovered explosive substances, remote control devices and bomb making circuits from their possessions.
During interrogation, they revealed that they planned to conduct subversive acts in the country.