Online activist Oyasiqur's killers Zikrullah, Ariful are trained in the art of killing: Police

The killers of online activist Oyasiqur Rahman Babu had trained well before setting off on their murder mission.

Golam Mujtaba
Published : 1 April 2015, 07:38 PM
Updated : 1 April 2015, 07:38 PM

Police say they had been trained to hide their weapons, carry out the murder, and successfully flee the scene once they were done.
Detective Branch of police’s spokesperson Monirul Islam said the information had been teased out from the madrasa students – ‘Zikrullah’ and ‘Ariful’ – accused of killing the online activist, during grilling.

Sleuths investigating the murder believe Oyasiqur’s killing in front of his house at Begunbarhi in Dhaka’s Tejgaon had been planned by a ‘sleeper cell’ of the Ansarullah Bangla Team, a militant group.
Oyasiqur used to write against religious fundamentalism on Facebook.
Ahmed Rajib Haider, another blogger on this subject, has been killed in an identical manner. Ansarullah Bangla Team chief Jasimuddin Rahmani is being tried for his suspected role in Haider’s murder.
The two madrasa students told police that they had been separately directed to kill Oyasiqur 15 days ago, Islam told journalists on Wednesday.
“They had been trained by a man called Masum at a house at Jatrabarhi in the art of killing and staging a getaway,” he said.
It was evident from the versions of the Zikrullah, Ariful and eyewitnesses that three persons had actively taken part in the killing.
The third person, Abu Taher, had managed to flee, Islam said.
The two arrestees have named Masum, but the detectives suspect that may well be a pseudonym.
Islam believes the ‘sleeper cell’ monitored by Masum had been given the task of killing Oyasiqur. Police have also learnt that the cell had eight members.
“A youth arrested with firearms in Jatrabarhi some time back was also one of the leaders of this cell. Police are trying to trace its other members,” the police official added.
Several Ansarullah Bangla Team ‘sleeper cells’ are still active, the investigators have learnt, although ministers and chiefs of the law-enforcing agencies have been claiming for some time that militant activities were under check.
“Each cell has its distinct function. They act according to orders from the top, and have no link among themselves,” Islam said.
He said Zikrullah and Ariful were both students of the Hathazari Madrasa, an institution run by radical Islamist group Hifazat-e Islami.
While the former is still studying, Ariful passed out from there a few years ago but got himself admitted at another madrasa in Dhaka’s Mirpur.
Neither of them had any source of income, the police officer said.
But the madrasa authorities have denied Zikrullah is their student.
Police, however, believe he may have been enrolled in a different name. “We will discuss this with the madrasa authorities,” he said.