Evidence, confessions point at JMB hallmark |
Agencies suspect foreign link
Julfikar Ali Manik
Intelligence agencies are certain that Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) carried out Wednesday's countrywide bombardment and also suspect a powerful foreign ally of the banned Islamist militant organisation was involved in it.
Investigators avoided blaming the JMB instantly for the attacks, even after its leaflets had been found at most of the explosion spots. But they are now quite sure of the JMB responsibility, as some of the people arrested following the explosions have admitted to being JMB activists and carrying out the bombings.
But, the arrestees making the confessions are merely JMB grassroots, who do not know the motive and the target of the attacks or the masterminds behind. "The only thing they are owning up is that they became involved in the act to establish an Islamic rule in the country," said an investigator, seeking anonymity.
As the arrestees fail to provide any further details, the investigators are now looking for those who engaged them to plant or blast the bombs.
Law enforcers yesterday raided a number of places in search of the recruiters, based on the names and addresses stated by the arrestees. "This way, we're trying to trace those who control the operations," said the investigator.
"As we're more or less convinced that the JMB was responsible for the attacks, its chief Shaekh Abdur Rahman is on the top of our hunting list. We're gathering information about him and his close aides," said a senior investigator.
The police including the Special Branch, Detective Branch, Criminal Investigation Department and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab), and government intelligence agencies including National Security Intelligence and the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence have been sent out to the field to hunt down the operatives behind Wednesday's terror strike.
The security and intelligence agencies, who are facing severe criticisms for their total failure to get information before and after the attacks, have assured the government of unveiling the mystery within three to four days, sources said.
"As we have some clues now in hand and have extracted some vital information from the arrestees, we've started an all-out operation across the country," the investigator said, expressing the hope to nab the culprits soon.
He said four arrestees in Dhaka, Satkhira and Kushtia have owned up their involvement in the attacks and with the JMB.
Shamsul Alam, a regional leader of the JMB held by the Rab in Chourhas, Kushtia soon after the serial explosions, confessed to his JMB membership and involvement in the bombing. He furnished the interrogators with details of his military training by JMB Operations Commander Bangla Bhai in Natore three years ago, his return to his village home later and organising the JMB.
Nasir Uddin, 45, and Moniruzzaman Munna, 35, arrested three hours into the bombings, also identified themselves as JMB activists and confessed to staging bomb explosions at two spots in the capital Wednesday morning.
The police are now certain that the JMB orchestrated the bombings, Satkhira Superintendent of Police (SP) Abdur Rahim told reporters yesterday. "They made the attacks in a bid to free their leader Asadullah Al Galib," he added.
Investigators are not sure whether the JMB carried out the massive countrywide attacks on its own or with assistance from a more powerful foreign syndicate.
"We know it well that they have gradually gathered much strength, but are they strong enough to do plan and carry out such an organised attack totally on their own?" speculated an investigator.
Law enforcers suspect a powerful foreign hand in the event. "Even if the JMB has made the attack alone, it definitely had some others to inspire it," he went on, adding, if there is such a foreign hand, a huge amount of money has definitely been invested to implement the plan of the terror strike.
Explosives experts said all the bombs were of the same kind and probably made at the same place by same people before being distributed among the attackers.
They said it takes much expertise, huge funds and a strong network to successfully carry out such a massive countrywide attack in a span of just 30 minutes.
The investigators are also digging for the sources of fund of the JMB as well as its allies in the country to trace its foreign partner or partners who might have assisted in Wednesday's bombings. They are looking into JMB chief Abdur Rahman's international connections and gathering information about those who had provided him with financial aids in the past. The JMB had received funds from a number of Islamic countries including Saudi Arabia and some Islamic NGOs.
Agency sources said the Kuwait-based Revival of Islamic Heritage has provided Galib with crores of taka in the last one decade. After his arrest on February 23, Galib admitted to spending the fund for building mosques and madrasas, giving military-style training to madrasa students and other organisational works.
Galib told law enforcers that he had been doing all those to promote Islam and build up strength to seize the state power.
An intelligence officer said law enforcers are trying to track the networks and activities of the JMB as well as Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh, although neither Bangla Bhai nor Abdur Rahman are present in the country.