Mediterranean Sea Boat Capsize
15 returnees may not be survivors: Sleuths
Published : Thursday, 23 May, 2019 at 12:00 AM Count : 897
Intelligence sources suspect trained militants including Bangladesh nationals, who joined wars in Syria and Iraq, might have entered Bangladesh. The Ministry of Home issued notices to Bangladesh embassies abroad not to issue travel permits without the Ministry's approval.
At least 15 Bangladesh nationals, returned home on Tuesday are not the ones who survived the boat capsize in Mediterranean Sea on May 9, an official confirmed on Wednesday. The authority could not verify if the returnees were militants or survivors of the boat capsize in the Mediterranean Sea.
Meanwhile ASM Ashraful Islam, Labour Counsellor of Bangladesh Embassy in Libya, told journalists that 15 returnees are a different group of Bangladeshis, who were rescued by the Tunisian coastguard around the same time - between May 10 and May 12. Investigation has found that at least 50 people have left the country to join IS, and at least the same number of foreigners of Bangladeshi origin can also be added to the list.
There have been a number of reports of Bangladeshis, both locals and expatriates, joining the terrorist group, Islamic State, over a period of about four years. Some have travelled straight to Syria to join IS while others were radicalised abroad while studying or working and then moved to the Middle East. A significant number of IS members are also citizens of many different countries who are of Bangladeshi descent. Some of these people have also reportedly died in battles in Syria.
"We have information that most of them have been killed. We think that those who are still in Iraq or Syria will not be able to enter the country because their names are with the immigration police," CTTC sources said.
The security threats had increased recently due to militant activities in the international arena. Granting travel permits without proper verification could pose a threat to the country's security, the Home Ministry letter mentioned.
Militants might conceal their identity and enter the country, the letter added, asking the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue directives in this regard to Bangladesh's diplomatic missions abroad.
According to sources in the law enforcement, many have gone to Syria and Iraq from Bangladesh, influenced by Islamic State (ISIS) ideology.
The authorities do not have information on the exact numbers of these militants, whether they are dead or alive, or their whereabouts. Many of them were killed and several landed in prisons in Syria and Iraq after being detained. Many Bangladeshi-origin citizens from other countries also went to Syria.
Several other countries have already taken cautionary steps against militants of their respective countries from returning after the fall of ISIS in Syria.
Officers of Dhaka Metropolitan Police CTTC (Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime) unit stressed the need to verify the identities of the people coming from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, and Lebanon as they may be militants returning from these countries.
According to several sources, Mutaz Abdul Majid, a youth born and brought up in Saudi Arabia, came to Bangladesh from Turkey last February. He was taken into custody at the airport and later shown arrested.
Militants have been blacklisted in many countries, and so will try to enter any country with a travel pass, CTTC sources said.
Fast travel passes are often sought to send back illegal workers. Militants may try to use such travel passes to return to the country and so the Home Ministry has issued the alert in this regard.