Two other militants were also arrested during a late-night raid in Louhajang
Md Anisur Rahman, the chief of the Islamist outfit Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya, and two other militants have been arrested by the Rapid Action Batallion in Munshiganj’s Lauhaganj Upazila.
The authorities also seized a cache of firearms, explosives, booklets on militancy, and cash during a raid in the early hours of Monday.
Law enforcers found the militants in a house owned by Anowara Begum in Louhajang’s Anowara, a widow, looks after the house by herself as her sons live separately.
According to her, a man named Hasan rented two rooms on the ground floor of her property three days ago.
Three men, initially claiming to be relatives, began living there and said the women of the family would join them later.
The rent was fixed at Tk 5,000 and the tenants told Anowara they would provide copies of their national ID cards after two days.
Then, around 3 am on Monday, the RAB raided the house and arrested all three men, she Anowara said.
“We received intel that militants were staying in that house. A raid was conducted based on that,” Imran Khan, a RAB official, said at a media briefing.
Anisur, 32, a native of Cumilla Sadar South Upazila’s Harkal village, started working in a CNG refuelling station after completing his studies in a local madrasa.
He went into hiding after selling some of the properties he inherited in 2021. The RAB said Anisur gave the funds to the organisation. He would also produce video speeches to raise money for the newly formed militant group and recruit members.
Earlier on Jun 23, the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit (CTTC) arrested the ‘founder’ of the militant group, Shamin Mahfuz, and his wife in Dhaka’s Demra.
At the time, the specialised police unit identified Anisur alias Mahmud as the ‘Amir’, or chief, of the outfit.
The outfit came into the RAB’s crosshairs while it was investigating reports about several runaway youths in Dhaka and Cumilla.
In October 2022, the RAB tracked down the missing men and said they had left their homes to join a new militant organisation, Jamatul Ansar, sparking widespread debate.
The outfit was established in 2017 by members of banned militant groups such as Harkatul Jihad, the JMB and Ansar al-Islam. It began operations in 2019 under the name Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya.
It was later revealed that the militants trained with members of an armed separatist group, the Kuki-Chin National Front, in the Chattogram Hill Tracts — a rare nexus that triggered concerns over domestic and regional security.
The militant group recruited 70 to 80 youths with the aim of establishing a strong position in the hill tracts, conducting military training, carrying out terrorist attacks and then returning to the hills.
Security forces have since arrested several militants and leaders of the group.