Ahab helped JMB build int'l links |
Staff Correspondent, Rajshahi
Militant supremo Abdur Rahman established international links of his militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) with the help of Ahle Hadith Andolan, Bangladesh (Ahab) chief Asadullah al Galib, sources said.
Evidence collected so far is so concrete that both Galib and Rahman must admit their links with two foreign militant trainers, Khaled and Javed, a reliable source told The Daily Star without elaborating.
The duo came to Bangladesh to train up Rohingya rebels in 1995 and stayed at Galib's Nawdapara den in Rajshahi.
They were taken to a house in Arambagh in Dhaka on their way to Chittagong under Galib's supervision, sources said.
The foreign militants first trained up Rohingyas and then local militants on Rahman's orders for four to six years. Sources said their primary target was to send the recruits to the Afghan war front as a backup force.
The training ultimately focused on rearing militants inside the country following a decision by Galib and Rahman at a meeting at Sadrul Alam's house in Chittagong in 1998, investigators said. Galib's nephew Alam was trapped after the August 17 blasts last year.
The trainer duo named Galib as their leader after they were arrested in Nepal in 1998, sources said.
Sources said Rahman went to Saudi Arabia for higher studies at Madina University on Galib's recommendation. Galib at a press conference before his arrest claimed he had no contacts with Rahman since his return from Madina.
Galib at an Ahab conference in Rajshahi in 1997 introduced a number of guests from India, Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.
The guests include Pakistani Nasser al Rahmani, an alleged leader of Saudi Hizbullah, who carries a bounty of $5 million declared by FBI for his link to al Qaeda.
Galib also introduced Abdul Matin Salafi, Maolana Abdul Wahab Khiljee of Punjab, Ahle Hadith leader Abdullah Salafi of Murshidabad from India and Abdullah Abdut Tawat Al Madani from Nepal.
Though Salafi was banished from Bangladesh in 1988, he took part in the Ahab meet in 1997. Investigators have found Galib had a joint bank account with him in 1989-90.
A leader of Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) in 2004 told The Daily Star about 20 of their leaders and activists worked with al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
They also said VCDs given to JMJB recruits contained Laden's recorded speeches and footage on warfare at al Farooque camp in Afghanistan.
A team of The Daily Star obtained one such VCD titled "The Solution, the Preparation" recorded in the once Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. The 50-minute disc was screened for new JMJB members at Razakar Ramjan Kaya training camp in Bagmara in 2004.
"Bangla Bhai showed his new recruits video footage on Afghan wars and mobilised support for an Islamic movement," said a police official asking not to be named.
Anwar Hossain, a JMJB member, went missing after a disc was stolen from the camp in the first week of May. JMJB sources had said Anwar was killed as punishment for 'stealing the disc'.
The JMJB sources had also claimed 44 Bangladeshis once served Laden in Afghanistan, some of them as his bodyguards.
The whereabouts of most of these Afghan returnees are unknown, but they include JMB chief Abdur Rahman, a JMJB source then said.
Villagers of the northwest region where Bangla Bhai established his reign of terror believe the militant leader had links to al Qaeda.