Militants removed the body of Aminur Rahman Al-Amin, a suspected member of Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya, from a grave in Bandarban to sweep the evidence of his murder under the carpet, his father insists.
Al-Amin and dozens of other youths had travelled to remote forests in the Chattogram Hill Tracts to train with the help of Kuki-Chin National Front or KNF, known as the Bawm Party, police said.
The young man from Cumilla was killed by fellow members of Jamatul Ansar and buried deep into the hilly forest, police said on Sunday, citing arrested suspects.
The law enforcers went to the site, a gorge two kilometres from Muangmual Para in Ruma, to retrieve the body on Monday.
They took Al-Amin’s father Nurul Islam with them to identify the body, but it was not to be found in the grave.
Citing one of the suspects, a 17-year-old boy from Cumilla, the Rapid Action Battalion said Al-Amin was buried after he died from hunger and disease in the remote forest on Nov 25.
Nurul said he saw some sandals, clothes and cooking pots there. “The RAB suspects someone removed the body from the grave.”
“I also suspect the militants killed my son and removed the body to hide evidence because he might have wanted to return after realising his mistake.”
Describing the “death” of his son as a murder, he demanded government action to punish those who misled the youths to join militancy.
Nurul is also thinking about bringing charges over the incident.
Mamun Shibli, chief executive of Ruma Upazila administration, said they went to exhume the body on Monday, but found only some pieces of evidence.
The evidence included a blanket, said Alamgir Hossain, chief of Ruma Police Station. “It’s obvious that the place was dug recently.”
The authorities prepared to go to Muangmual Para on Sunday, but abandoned the plans due to dense fog. Shibli said they had to use rope to reach the place on Monday.
Alamgir said the arrestees might have misled the law enforcers for some unknown reason, or the body was buried somewhere else, or the militants may have removed it after hearing about the court order to exhume the body.
Al-Amin was a third-year undergraduate student at Cumilla Victoria College. Nurul filed a general diary with police on Sept 1, 2022, after the young man went missing. Later, police found out he was among at least 55 youths who left home to join Jamatul Ansar, a newly formed Islamist militant group.
Besides study, Al-Amin helped Nurul to run his business. “It never appeared from his activities that he would join militancy. I am lost for words. We thought we would at least get my son’s body. I’m unable to console his mother. God knows what’ll we do.”
The Rapid Action Battalion on Thursday said it arrested five suspected members of Jamatul Ansar in the remote forests of Roangchhari and Thanchi.
The suspects allegedly had training at the camps of the tribal separatist group Kuki-Chin National Front or KNF, also known as the Bawm Party, in the hill tracts.
The suspects have been identified as Nizamuddin Hiron alias Yusuf, 30, Sadikur Rahman Sumon alias Farkun, 30, Saleh Ahmed alias Saiha, 27, Bayezid Islam alias Bairu, 21, and an unnamed 17-year-old boy.
Alamgir said the four adult suspects revealed the information about the killing of a fellow member of the group during quizzing in police custody.
Police had earlier said Jamatul Ansar tackled rebellion brutally. As punishment, rebel members who wanted to return home were tied to trees for days and were given one meal a day.
Four rebels tried to flee but were caught by the Bawm Party and faced “inhumane torture”.
Members of Jamatul Ansar treated the rebels like slaves and gave them up to 100 lashings a day.
For three months, the rebels were forced to clean everyone’s clothes, cut logs and do other tasks. They were tied up at night.