Rapid Action Battalion yesterday arrested five top-level leaders of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in the capital's Mirpur on charges of allegedly plotting to foil the ongoing war crimes trial by destabilising law and order.
The leaders of the banned militant outfit were preparing to hold a secret meeting, Rab officials said.
One of the arrestees Shaik Rahamat Ullah alias Masum, 33, is a member of Majlish-e-Sura, the highest decision making body of the JMB, Rab sources said.
The other detainees are ehsar (full-time) members Shahinuzzaman Shahin alias Shafique, 27, Amit Hossain alias Ajmeri, 26, and Shariful Islam Shohag alias Milton, 23, and gayeri ehsar (part-time) member Saidur Rahman, 40.
A senior intelligence official of the Rab told The Daily Star that JMB men regrouped, targeting to kill BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta and Foreign Minister Dipu Moni.
A good number of books, leaflets, CDs and pen drives containing the party's organisational directives were seized from the possessions of five arrestees.
During a press briefing at Rab headquarters, its Legal and Media Wing Director Captain M Sohail said the leaders of the banned organisation have been getting together under the umbrella of some religion-based political parties.
"In collaboration with these parties, the outfit members are trying to destabilise law and order, aiming to foil the war crimes trial and save war criminals," he said.
"Besides, JMB leaders and leaders of the like-minded organisations have targeted some top ranking leaders of the two major political parties," Sohail told reporters.
The militant outfit has targeted to recruit Rohingyas in Myanmar to conduct militant activities, Capt Sohail said adding that JMB men were trying to keep contacts with the detained war criminals.
Rab officials said Sura member Masum, who hails from Narayanganj, had been working as the second man to JMB's chief Sohel Mahfuz, who is now hiding in India.
"As per the directives of Mahfuz, Masum came to Bangladesh on November 10 from India through a border point in Rajshahi," said a Rab source.
Masum was convicted to 17 years' imprisonment in an arms case in addition to six years in an explosives case. He is also accused in several other cases, including a robbery in a Brac office at Gopalganj in 2005.
After he came out of prison on a High Court bail in 2011, he had fled to India.
Ehsar members Shahinuzzaman is the chief of Khulna district JMB, Shariful of Satkhira district JMB while Amit Hossain is the finance secretary of the banned outfit.