Vol. 5 Num 1020 Sat. April 14, 2007  

JMB cadres regrouping in Barisal in different names
Two top regional leaders out of dragnet

Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) cadres are regrouping under the leadership of two 'top' regional leaders of the banned Islamist outfit in Barisal, intelligence sources said.

They are carrying out organisational activities under the leadership of Hannan Uddin and Mawlana Mohiuddin Faruki in different names like Hijbut Tahrir, Hijbe Abu Omar and Hijbut Tawhid. They change their addresses and residences frequently to evade eyes of law enforcers, intelligence sources said.

Both the leaders are returnees from Afghan war. Hannan Uddin is the son of Kamaluddin of Karapur village in Barisal Sadar upazila and Mawlana Mohiuddin Faruki hails from Chengutia village in Agoiljhara upazila.

Hannan is an explosives expert and Mawlana Mohiuddin is trainer of JMB's suicide squad. They were earlier linked with Islami Chhatra Shibir, student's wing of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Mohiuddin was arrested in December last year by Barisal police from Fultala area in Khulna but was released on bail.

He was released allegedly on pressure from a partner of the immediate past ruling alliance though he was shown arrested in the August 17 serial bomb blasts in 2005. Despite being shown arrested in the serial bomb blasts, her was not included in the charge sheet because of the pressure, the sources said. Mohiuddin is not seen in public since his release.

JMB explosives expert Hannan Uddin, who can speak fluently in several foreign languages, was also arrested in Barisal in 1988, but came out of jail after four months.

He then opened a video shop in his native area, which was a only a cover to hide his militant activities, the sources said. He again went into hiding about three months ahead of the August 17 serial bombing and is not seen in public since then.

The intelligence sources said JMB's top leader Siddiqul Islam Bangla Bhai met Hannan Uddin at a mosque at Kalihata village in Uzirpur before the murder of two judges in bomb blasts on November 14, 2005.

Bangla Bhai stayed in the area for three days and held secret meetings with JMB cadres led by their regional leaders Mohiuddin and Hannan Uddin.

Cadres of Hijbut Tawhid are changing their tactics. On September 2, 2005, Sohrab Khan of Sakokati village in Uzirpur upazila, Amir of Hijbut Tawhid in charge of Barisal, Jhalakati, Madaripur and Gopalganj districts, along with 20 others publicly announce their resignation from the organisation.

Then, one Jamal Sharif of the same village become the new regional Amir of Hijbut Tawhid. Since then, the organisation intensified its activities in the area and recruited a large number of followers including women and collected money.

Recently, leaflets were distributed in different areas of Uzirpur upazila, claiming that Hijbut Tawhid in not a banned organisation.

On March 5, 10 'top' leaders of Hijbut Tawhid left Sakokati village at dead of night with their families, a day after the arrest of two militants of Hijbe Abu Omar--Maolana Akramuzzaman and Zubair Shikder--in Barisal with grenades and bomb making materials.

Maj Jamil of Rab-8 said Akramuzzaman confessed to law enforcers during interrogation that he was an Ehsar member of JMB.

On the same day, six other members of Hijbut Tahrir including its regional Amir Farid Hossain also left their native areas in Uzirpur.

Since their arrest, law enforcers are raising different areas to nab Islamist militants. They raided several villages including Ratnapur in Agoiljhara recently.

Highly placed sources in Barisal police said they have a list of JMB cadres in the district who are active in the guise of Hijbut Tahrir, Hijbe Abu Omar and Hijbut Tawhid. Joint forces are raiding different areas to nab them, the sources said seeking anonymity.