Vol. 5 Num 463 Tue. September 13, 2005  
Front Page

Militants' bomb factory found in city

Detectives in city's Nawabpur yesterday seized raw materials and tools for making bomb-heads and arrested two men for suspected links to the August 17 blasts.

The arrestees used to work for Abdus Samad alias Mintu, the absconding JMB leader who had stockpiled the huge cache of bomb-making materials seized from a South Goran house on Thursday.

Police have yet to obtain leads about the whereabouts of Samad, who had reportedly received some 100 plastic 'bomb-heads' after the August 17 blasts. The law enforcers believe he had stored the bomb-making materials in his South Goran house and was working to carry out a fresh spell of bomb attacks in the capital.

Of the two arrestees, Tofael Ahmed, 32, is an activist of Ahle Hadith Andolon Bangladesh and was placed on a seven-day remand yesterday. He used to work for Samad's engineering works.

Meanwhile, immigration police yesterday held a man at Zia International Airport (ZIA) yesterday. The man bearing close resemblance to Bangla Bhai, the chief of banned militant organisation Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB), was offloaded from a plane before he was taken for interrogation. But the policemen released him after being sure that he in fact is not Bangla Bhai.

In another development, police released a leader of Kuwait-based Revival of Islamic Heritage Society on Sunday night, 11 hours after his arrest at the NGO office in Uttara for suspected links to the countrywide explosions.

Acting on leads obtained from Samad's wife Shammi Akhter, who was arrested on Thursday with a huge number of bomb-heads, other bomb-making materials, and books on jihad, detective police went to Nababpur Road at 4:30pm Sunday and their drive culminated in recovery of the bomb-heads yesterday.

Besides Shammi's, the information found in a computer seized from a den of Ataur Rahman, brother of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) chief Abdur Rahman, were of help during the raid.

"Shammi told us that the huge bomb-heads found in Samad's South Goran house were made in Satata Hardware, which is owned by her husband," Shafiqul Islam, additional deputy commissioner (ADC) of Detective Branch (DB) of police, told reporters.

The DB men at first did not find Satata Hardware, but found a boy named Saiful who identified Samad from his photograph as his employer. The boy led the policemen to Satata on 115/1, Nababpur Road.

Saiful later took them to the house of Samad's partner Tofael Ahmed on 110, Nababpur Road. While Tofael was attending a namaj-e-janaza in Mirpur, his mother called him on his mobile phone on the instructions of the detectives.

The DB men picked him up as he returned to his house at 9:15pm.

On instant interrogation by the law enforcers, Tofael admitted to having made bomb-heads and handed over samples of those to the detectives.

But he claimed himself to be a mere employee of Samad's works. "I work on a monthly salary of Tk 3,200."

DB officials said Tofael has confessed to making two dices and keeping one at his house.

Asked why he had kept the dice, he told reporters: "Three days ago, Samad Bhai asked me to hide it as police were raiding the area to arrest bomb suspects and recover bomb-making materials."

He said they had got the bomb-heads made by one Mamtaz Alam, 30, of Lalbagh in Old Dhaka.

When police went to Mamtaz's workshop on 98, Jagannath Saha Road the same night, they found the workshop shut.

Later at about 11:45am yesterday, a team of around 100 detectives led by DB's Deputy Commissioner (DC) Shahidul Islam launched a raid on Mamtaz's workshop. They had to break into the building where they found two dices and a sack of 'green' raw materials, which are widely used in making bomb-heads. No one however was arrested during the raid.

After the DB team had left the area, Mamtaz went to the scene and was arrested by another team, which was waiting in lie for her.

"We're now sure that these bomb-heads are of the same stock that we had recovered earlier from Goran. Like those, these can all together contain detonator, capacitor and battery," said the DB deputy commissioner.

Talking to reporters at DB office later, Mamtaz said Tofael had ordered for 100 bomb-heads about a month ago and received 10 pieces immediately after the August 17 attacks.

"Being satisfied with the quality, they later took 85 others," he added.

He however claimed he did not know anything about Samad's motive or where he was going to use those bomb-heads. "We make plastic toys, we never want to know what the [clients] will do with those. I just worked as per his order."

Tofael said he became acquainted with Samad only one and a half years ago at a library in Bangshal.

"He asked me to make two dices for a customer and being an employee, I was not supposed to ask him any further detail," he added.

Family of Tofael, who is fluent in Urdu, migrated to Bangladesh from Pakistan fifty years ago, he said.

The DB men produced him before the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate, Dhaka with a petition for him to be placed on a 10-day remand. The court granted seven-day remand.

Mamtaz was being interrogated at DB office last night.

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) on Sunday night held a youth, suspecting him to be a JMB operative in Badda.

The arrestee, Sheikh Abu Saleh alias Liton, was handed over to Badda police yesterday.

Immigration police at the ZIA offloaded Al Amin from a Saudi Arabia bound flight at around 7:00am yesterday. Son of Bahauddin Mia of Rupganj of Narayanganj, he was going to the Gulf country for job.

He was offloaded, as he resembles Bangla Bhai, the infamous militant leader.

The offloading incident took place just a day after the government announced bounty for information leading to the arrest of Bangla Bhai and Abdur Rahman, chief of JMB, both widely blamed for August 17 attacks. Soon after Al Amin was held, high officials of intelligence, security and law enforcement agencies rushed to the ZIA. But they released him after quizzing for about three hours they became sure that he is not Bangla Bhai.

He was served with a notice to meet immigration police a few days later.

Police released Revival of Islamic Heritage Society Ekramuzzaman, who was picked up Sunday morning on suspicion, the same night as he secured anticipatory bail from the High Court on March 20.

"We released him following the instructions of my superior officials when he showed the High Court bail papers at 10:00pm," Sub-Inspector Gias of Uttara Police Station told The Daily Star last evening.

Ekram, chief of Talim wing of the organisation, however, denied his links to the August 17 blasts.

Tofael Ahmed, right, an accomplice of JMB leader Abdus Samad, shows detectives metal dies for making bombs at Satata Machineries, an engineering workshop on Nawabpur Road in the capital yesterday. PHOTO: STAR