Police suspect extremists Ansarullah Bangla Team for attacks on publishers

Police think Ansraullah Bangla Team, the banned militant outfit named in investigations for its suspected link to murders of bloggers, has also carried out the attacks on publishers that left one killed.

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 1 Nov 2015, 04:08 PM
Updated : 1 Nov 2015, 04:08 PM

After analysing the nature of one of Saturday’s attacks on the publishers, police also believe the assailants were ‘amateurs’.

‘Jagriti Prokashony’ owner Faisal Arefin Dipan was found fatally hacked at his office in Shahbagh’s Aziz Supermarket on Saturday afternoon.

Hours before, another attack left ‘Shuddhaswar’ publishing house’s Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury Tutul, writer Ranadipam Basu, and blogger Tarek Rahim injured.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police Detective Branch Joint Commissioner Monirul Islam on Sunday told reporters police were ‘almost certain’ that Ansarullah Bangla Team members were involved in the murders of bloggers.

“People from groups similar to Ansarullah may also be linked to this incident (attacks on publishers),” he said.

Radical group Islamic State reportedly claimed responsibilities for the recent murders of foreigners. The government denied any presence of the Middle-East-based organisation in Bangladesh, which has seized territory across northern and western Iraq and eastern Syria.

Al-Qaeda in the Indian Sub-Continent (AQIS) through a Twitter account, purportedly handled by extremist outfit Ansar Al Islam, claimed credits for the attacks on the publishers.

Detective Monirul Islam said, “Those, who are known as Ansarullah Bangla Team, claim responsibility in this manner after conducting such incidents.”

“They claim credit identifying themselves sometimes as Seven (Ansar Al Islam Seven), or Four, or Three,” he added.

He also said: “It’s not fully true that we have arrested everyone of them (Ansarullah), nor is it true that we have not apprehended any of them. Police have made several arrests.”

Ansarullah Bangla Team chief Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani is being tried for the murder of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider in 2013.

Detailing the attack on Tutul at his office in Lalmatia, Islam said, “They (assailants) left two bullets. It seems they were not involved in any other incident beforehand as professional killers.”

There were four persons other than Tutul in the office during the attack. 
Witnesses said the attackers were three in number and they were armed with a pistol as well as machetes.
They left on a motorcycle after locking the gate of the building.
The time of the attack on Dipan at his office in Shahbagh could not be confirmed. He was alone and his body was found in the afternoon.
“The miscreants pulled down the shutter after hacking Dipan,” Monirul Islam said.
“The nature of the incidents is similar. We are suspecting that those behind the incidents are same and same persons trained the attackers,” he added.
The detective also said it would not be possible to prevent the ‘planned’ murders like those of the bloggers and publisher without a ‘dedicated force’.
“You’ve seen that we have strengthened ‘visible policing’. But it’s not easy to prevent ‘special crimes’ by this alone. Criminals often restrict their movements in many cases if police remain visible,” he said.
“A special branch should be formed to tackle special crimes. The murders of bloggers are not common crimes. It’s not easy to prevent such crimes,” he said.
He said a ‘counter terrorism unit’ should be formed to prevent such murders.
Many countries have such units, but the detectives in Bangladesh had to investigate such incidents as it did not have any such unit, he said.
Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher