August 17 bomb den identified in city |
Courier company used to send bombs to districts
Detectives yesterday unearthed a Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) den in the city's North Bashabo where the Islamist militants made all the bombs used in the August 17 serial blasts across the country.
The militants were making more bombs in the house of one Khalil Khan to launch another attack in the Ramadan, sources said.
After making, the bombs were sent to different places across the country by a courier service a couple of days before August 17, Lokman, a 16-year-old madrasa student who earlier introduced himself as absconding JMB leader Abdus Samad's domestic help, told detectives.
The teenager also confessed that he himself blasted one bomb in front of Khulna judge's court on August 17.
Lokman and Samad's wife Shammi Akhter were arrested at Samad's 360/1 hideout in South Goran on September 8 afternoon with three kilogram gunpowder, over 200 detonators, 900 capacitors, switches, batteries, bomb-making manuals, books and leaflets on jihad and several maps.
Lokman, a class seven student at a madrasa in Rupsha of Khulna, was earlier caught with a bag of bomb in Jhikargachha in Jessore on March 9, 2003, and served one year in the jail.
Quizzing Shammi and Lokman, investigators came to learn about several JMB operatives involved in the August 17 bombing who used to frequent the house. The investigators later unearthed two factories in Old Dhaka where bomb accessories were being manufactured.
"On Tuesday night Lokman finally confessed that he himself was involved in bomb-making and blasted one bomb," Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Detective Branch (DB) Shahidul Islam told The Daily Star.
The youth, whose real name is Shahidullah, was working with Samad at his 55/7/9 Jhilpar den in North Bashabo and introduced himself as his domestic help to hide his identity. Samad hired the top floor of the four-storeyed building five-six months ago and six-seven people always used to stay in the house.
Lokman confessed that he was assigned to blasting a bomb in front of Khulna Judge's Court and that he went to the southern district a few days before August 17.
"The bombs reached Khulna several days before August 17," Lokman told reporters, adding that the militants sent the bombs by the Continental Courier Service.
Accomplishing his mission, he came back to the Bashabo house on August 18.
As law enforcers beefed up watch in the area to find the suspects, Samad left the Bashabo house with huge bomb-making materials and other evidence on August 25.
Introducing himself as a businessman, Samad later shifted to the ground floor of a house of one Abdul Hye on Hawai Goli Road in South Goran on September 1.
To verify Lokman's information, the DB men yesterday afternoon took him to the North Bashabo house where caretaker of the house Ali Akbar Khan, also Khalil's cousin, recognised him and confirmed that Lokman had been staying with Samad in the house.
He also told the detectives about the suspicious movement of people who frequented the house. The detectives picked up Khalil and Ali Akbar for quizzing.
Searching the house, the detectives did not find any evidence yesterday.
WHO IS LOKMAN
Lokman joined hands with the JMB militants in 2003.
"One Zahidul Islam Sumon asked me to carry a bag of bomb," he said. As they reached Bakhra in Jhikargachha on March 9, 2003, police arrested them.
"While in jail, I met some people who invited me to take part in the jihad to establish Islam. I decided to join them," Lokman told reporters in front of the Bashabo house yesterday.
SAMAD STILL AT LARGE
Law enforcers, meanwhile, are yet to know the whereabouts of JMB leader Abdus Samad who was last seen in city's Nawabur on Saturday morning.
The detectives caught his associate Tofael Ahmed, who was running a bomb factory at 115 Nawabpur in Dhaka, with huge bomb-making raw materials and tools.
Son of one Ainal Haq of Kalmudanga village in Sapahar of Naogaon, Samad used to stay at different points in the capital, mostly at his father-in-law's house in Uttara.
The detectives have come to learn that Samad also used different aliases such as Mintu, Mustafizur Rahman and Musa on different occasions.
Acting on a tip-off, detectives yesterday afternoon raided Dhaka University (DU) Surya Sen Hall and found dozens of booklets and leaflets of Ahle Hadith Andolon Bangladesh (Ahab) from room No. 177, reports our DU correspondent.
The DB men arrested Motaleb Hossain, a second year student of economics, and Bakul, an outsider from Satkhira.
The students recovered books, including the Ahle Hadith Constitution, and leaflets bearing the name of Abdur Rahman.
Leaders of Surya Sen Hall unit of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD), ruling BNP's student wing, earlier recovered books and huge leaflets linked to militants from the room on information of a secret meeting.
A JCD leader said they received information that 20-25 men, including a couple of outsiders, were holding a meeting. "When we went there, some of them fled away from the hall."
Students said some 14 students were living in the room and unknown people often used to visit the room at night.
"These are the same books now being recovered across the country," Provost of the dormitory Prof Sirajul Islam told newsmen, adding that he handed over the seized booklets and leaflets to police.
The police also raided Sir AF Rahman Hall and searched two rooms but could not find anything or arrest anyone, police said.
The DU authorities formed a four-member team headed by house tutor Shahidul Islam to probe the incident.
Our Rangamati correspondent reports: One of the two Ahab activists Obaidur alias Khair on Tuesday gave confessional statement before the court on his involvement in the August 17 bomb attacks at the local press club and three other spots in the town.
Obaidur, an Imam of Bhusanchhara Bazar mosque, said five militants from Chittagong went to Rangamati before the blasts and he along with them spotted the blast points in the town, said sources.
Ruhul Amin, the cashier of the mosque who is another suspect, however, still remained tight-lipped in police interrogation.
The two are now being quizzed on a four-day remand ending today.
Sources said the two who were arrested from Bhusanchhari Bazar, some 100km east off Rangamati town, last Friday, held several meetings in Rangamati that was also participated by JMB's Khagrachhari unit Ameer Md Nasir and decided in a recent meeting about the blast points. Nasir was later arrested.