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Wednesday, March 25, 2009
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Militants' 'ammo factory' busted

London-based Bangladeshi sets up so-called madrasa in remote Bhola village; the den fortified with canal, hanging bridge; arms, ammo materials seized

The firearms, ammunition, grenades and bomb-making materials and equipment seized in Ramkeshob village of Borhanuddin upazila in Bhola. Inset, the madrasa encircled by a moat.Photo: STAR

In a chilling reminder of how the militants are still alive and kicking, the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday unearthed a mini-ammunition factory inside a madrasa-cum-orphanage in a remote village of Bhola.

During the bust, they recovered a huge cache of firearms and ammunition, explosive substances, four pairs of German-made uniforms and booklets on jihad, Moulana Moududi and al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

Besides, the elite crime-busters arrested four suspected militants--Abul Kalam, Abdul Halim, Jasim and Moulana Mohammad Russell.

The raid was still on as of filing this report at 1:00am.

Earlier at night, the coastal district's Superintendent of Police Azizur Rahman told The Daily Star that the arrestees did not yet disclose their organisational identity. But the materials seized suggest they are lined to a banned Islamist group like Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).

Following up leads, a team of Barisal Rab-8 had been keeping a close watch on Green Crescent Madrasa in Ramkeshob village under Borhanuddin for the last one week.

Then at around 11:00am yesterday, they stormed the building that stands on a four-acre land.

The seizure list includes nine firearms, 2,500 bullets, 3,000 grenade splinters, an explosives blaster, 200 gram gunpowder, bullet-making components and equipment, two walkie-talkies, two bows, two remote control devices, binoculars and a book on how to operate firearms.

Pretty well furnished, the seminary has no signboard. It drew attention of the neighbourhood, but few knew it was a militants' den capable of making improvised explosive devices (IED) and assembling ammunition.

Rab officials said they suspect it might have been used for training militants.

Lt Commander Mamunur Rashid who led the operation told The Daly Star that the madrasa, launched recently, is circled by a trench-like canal to keep off the locals.

In the daytime, the occupants would use a hanging bridge over the canal to get in and out. But they would remove it at night-time so no-one could gain access to the premises.

Referring to the items recovered, Mamun said, "We've found materials needed to assemble bullets. They include percussion caps, cartridge cases and bullet heads. And all these are made in the UK.

About the blasting machine, Mamun said it is a military item that can detonate wired-up explosive devices planted in the distance. It is usually used in training on how to explode bombs.

"The recovery also indicates they [the militants] have all equipment necessary to make IEDs," he continued.

In primary interrogations, the arrestees told the Rab officials that they were recruited by one Moulana Mohiuddin.

They also said Faisal Mostafa, a Bangladeshi expatriate in London, has been financing the madrasa.

He is nephew of former BNP minister and ex-lawmaker from Bhola-3 Major (retd) Hafizuddin Ahmed.

Faisal, who has been living abroad for over two decades, often comes to Bangladesh. Now he is on a visit to Chittagong.

His father Golam Mostafa, Major (retd) Hafizuddin's cousin, too is settled in London.

Contacted, Faisal's father-in-law Shahidul Haque Naquib Chowdhury, who was the founder president of Bhola BNP, said they are shocked to know of the arms haul.

As far as he is concerned, he continued, Faisal and a few of his friends have been running an NGO named Green Crescent. Their organisation is headquartered in Doulatkha of Bhola.

He said the building has been constructed on a piece of land that he sold to Faisal. He was told it would be used as a vocational training school for orphan children.

The Rab team hauled in 11 students of the madrasa for questioning. But they could not capture Kajal, caretaker of the building, as he has gone to Chittagong with Faisal.

The students told the Rab officials that the madrasa is only a month old.

Those involved in the operation said they can tell from the interior and exterior and tile floors that a handsome amount of money had been spent on construction of the building.

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All our hats off to RAB for detecting one after another hideouts of the militants.These militants must not be related to our religion. These outfits are unislamic, they have no public support and have no place in Islam.They should be crushed. They are tarnishing the great image of our religion . we are grateful to RAB.

: Abul Zakaria

This sort of terror financing is very ominous and that so from people who are walking with a deceptive garb. These hooligans are a serious threat to national security and the country's image abroad. Already, Bangladesh has been identified by the world as one of the terrorist hub in the world. Its important that before it gets too late these sorts of outfits shall have to be totally eliminated with zero tolerance. If the existing laws cant cover it, new laws are to made to face this challenge.

: Masud


  • Dr S Rahman
    Wednesday, March 25, 2009 07:36 AM GMT+06:00 (359 weeks ago)

    First of all we congratulate our law enforcing agencies who are protecting us from these dangerous extremist by risking their own lives. If we don't capture them & find out the resources like finances, millions of people will be killed in future. We have a good relation with UK, we should arrest those with the help of UK law enforcing agencies. Also to look other western & middle eastern countries. Most of the finances for terrorism come from abroad. Expatriates should help build the country, not to destroy their own motherland. Few of them are doing that. It's a large amount of money they sent to Bangladesh for terrorism purposes. How they collect money? They usually arrange religious groups & recruit people in the name of Islam. Parents are anxious about their children in foreign country. These religious group arrange prayer, lectures etc but the main aim to collect huge amount of money to finance terrorism. Some time they run mosques etc. Many islamic centres are run by good people. They contribute their valuable time for the society. But this is the time as a responsible citizen of Bangladesh whether we are in Bangladesh or abroad we should be more vigilant. Otherwise our country will turn in to a mass grave like Pakistan. This is the time we should save Islam from bandit's. Let our children grow in a fair civic society. If there is peace more investment will come through & more employment will result. Religion gives us peace & harmony but not this way. Islam is a great religion . Islam advocates peace. Targeting the poor as a future recruitment for terrorist in the name of madrassa. Public should ask madrassas to clear their name now. Regular check by high level comitte but not to harass the genuine madrassa.

  • hekmot
    Wednesday, March 25, 2009 08:21 AM GMT+06:00 (359 weeks ago)

    How come such a large sum of money laundered to Bangladesh from UK!

  • Alam
    Wednesday, March 25, 2009 09:34 AM GMT+06:00 (359 weeks ago)

    I think this type of hidden Training camp/ ammo factory can be found more in Bangladesh. Govt. should take a immediate step to find out this as to make sure our security.

  • Hiron
    Wednesday, March 25, 2009 02:36 PM GMT+06:00 (359 weeks ago)

    These miscreants who hold illegal arms in the name of Islam actually belong to no religion. Please be united throwing all the dirty politics in the garbage chute to save our native motherland. If we stand united, surely we will be able to eradicate these sort of unislamic activities. Bangladesh cannot be a failed state, as we know how to stand together in time of need as we did in 1971. please wake up, be united, there is no time to lose.

  • dr reza khan- a nature lover
    Wednesday, March 25, 2009 01:41 PM GMT+06:00 (359 weeks ago)

    We must congratulate our law enforcing machinery, vis-à-vis the government for nabbing the criminals. However, none should feel complacent with this seizure because masterminds for this are yet to be nabbed. Also nobody knows how many more such groups, units or cells are operating in the country.

    All involved in this anti-sate and anti-people activity must be given highest punishment under the law of the land.

    Govt must get the statements of accounts of the NGOs every month and get their expenditure and activities verified by proper bodies so that it can smell any foul play and kill their desire of killing people or damaging national and private properties, creating chaos and confusion in the minds of the mass people at the initial stage itself.

  • Concerned
    Wednesday, March 25, 2009 03:05 PM GMT+06:00 (359 weeks ago)

    I don't want to see my country become another Afghanistan or Pakistan...God knows how many other Zillions camp are located elsewhere in the country...I have faith in our Law enforcement...i just hope they can keep protecting us without any Obstacles.





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