Northern Bangladesh, a haven for militants

By Haroon Habib, The Hindu, Friday 14 March 2003

DHAKA March 13. Northern Bangladesh, particularly the frontier areas, is increasingly becoming a haven for militants.

The authorities, who have been denying the presence of such elements in the area, have now banned one of the militant organisations and arrested many of its activists. In the latest incident, the police unearthed a training camp of the Islamic militant group, Jama’atul Mujaheedin, in the frontier town of Chapainawabganj earlier this week, arrested five militants and seized explosives, fire-arms and incriminating documents.

The seized documents included manuals on “Jihad”, “Talibanism” and instructions on making time-bombs. The police raided the house after being tipped off by intelligence agencies.

Earlier, the police had arrested two young men from near Benapole border for carrying arms and explosives. Seven grenades, two revolvers, nine petrol bombs, electrical tools and a diary were seized from them.

Police sources said the arrested youths gave “sensational” information about their plans to carry out subversive activities. The youths disclosed that they were bound for Khulna after taking delivery of the arms and explosives from Benapole. There were more arms and explosives with those who had escaped, they revealed during the interrogation.

Meanwhile, the unearthing of the hide-out of a militant outfit in Dinajpur following the serial bomb blasts last month has caused panic in the area. Terrorist incidents have continued to grow in Khulna with two policemen being killed in a bomb attack on Tuesday. On March 1, a police sergeant was killed and two constables were injured in a bomb attack near the International Trade Fair site in Khulna. In January, three constables were critically wounded in a similar attack in this frontier town.