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‘Sleeper Cells’ of outlawed militants active in country

All attempts of cops to tame them futile

Published : Tuesday, 19 November, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 377

'Sleeper Cells,' of different banned militant organizations blamed for hacking and butchering people allegedly for hurting Islamic sentiments, are still active in the capital and across the country.
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on Friday arrested six members of the banned militant outfit Ansar al-Islam in separate drives in Dhaka, Satkhira and Gazipur. The arrested are Shafiqul Islam alias Sagar alias Salman Muktadir, 21, Ilias Hawlader alias Khattab, 32, Ikramul Islam alias Amir Hamza, 21, Ameer Hossain alias Tauhidi Jonatar Artonad, 26, Shipon Meer alias Abdur Rob, 33, and Waliullah alias Abdur Rahman, 25.
Police and intelligence agencies say several Sleeper Cells are operating all over the country, proving attempts by law enforcers to tame them either ineffective or futile.
The cells, each made up of 3 to 7 members, have been carrying  out assassinations of anti-Islamists across the country, an intelligence source told the Daily Observer on Sunday.
Most of the cells appear to have been "brainwashed" by Islamic radicals and extremists trying to enforce Sharia law in Bangladesh, thwarting democracy and secularism that have been enshrined in the country's Constitution.
They kill people without knowing whether they are doing right or wrong, the sources said. They have been 'blinded" by ego and sort of wild zest that provoke 'mindless' killings and ruthless attacks on who they consider as atheists or non-believers of the Muslim faith.
RAB 4 Commanding Officer Mozammel Haque said, "They [militants] use protective apps for internal communication, which is difficult for the law enforces to track down. Ansar al-Islam members only gather before executing a big plan and use a cut-out system to avoid law enforcers' surveillance."
According to RAB sources, arrested Abdur Rahman and Amir Hamza were chief organisers of Dhaka and Khulna districts. Amir Hamza is the IT expert of Ansar al-Islam, who maintained a strong countrywide online network among members of the organisation.
Mozammel said, "At least 25 to 30 Ansar-al-Islam militants are yet to be arrested."
"Firstly, they are trying to recruit members by motivating the youths in schools, colleges and universities through the internet.  Secondly, they are planning to strategically kill those who oppose religion-based politics.
Intelligence agencies source told this correspondent that several banned militant organizations are trying to recruit Rohingya men also by motivating them to establish so-called Islamic caliphate in their homeland.
According to an account by the International Crisis Group (ICG), an international nongovernmental organization, ARSA was founded by a small cadre of Rohingyas based in Saudi Arabia. The leader is reportedly Ataullah, a Rohingya who was born in Pakistan to refugee parents, but whose family moved to Saudi Arabia when he was still young. There, he was reportedly educated in a madrasa, an Islamic school.
Ataullah and the group's leadership are alleged to have received military training by the Pakistani Taliban (TTP). According to the ICG, a small group of commanders, seemingly with prior experience in guerrilla warfare gained in Afghanistan and Pakistan, are leading the operations in Myanmar.
A spokesman for the TTP confirmed that Taliban fighters had trained Rohingya Muslims in the past.  
However, Home Ministry and elite forces confirmed that militancy in the country is under control."

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