Dhaka cafe attacker Nibras spent time in Jhenaidah as Sayeed, bdnews24.com finds

Nibras Islam, one of the five Dhaka cafe attackers, had apparently been living in a Jhenaidah mess as ‘Sayeed’, bdnews24.com can reveal.

Jhenaidah Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 14 July 2016, 02:27 PM
Updated : 14 July 2016, 04:26 PM

Nibras was shot dead on July 2 morning during a counter-strike by army commandos to rescue the hostages he and his four cohorts had taken in a bloody siege the previous night.

After people who had known him confirmed his identity following the terror attack in the capital’s Gulshan, his family members said that the youth had gone missing without a trace since February.

But many locals at Jhenaidah’s Sonaliparha recall spotting the youth who answered to the name ‘Sayeed’ and was lodged in a local mess.

They told bdnews24.com that after the media carried pictures of the Gulshan attackers, they recognised Nibras. But they had known him as Sayeed.

Family members of at least three of the youths involved in the Gulshan attack have said they had been missing for quite some time before resurfacing as the deadly attackers on July 1.

The youth involved in the Sholakia attack, executed within three days of the one in Dhaka, was also reported to have been similarly missing for four months.

After the Dhaka cafe attack, media reports quoting family members of Nibras had said that he had left home, leaving a note behind for his family on Feb 3.

Within hours after 20 hostages, mostly foreigners, were killed one by one at Gulshan-2’s Holey Artisan Bakery and O’ Kitchen, Islamic State had reportedly released photos of five youths who the global terror outfit said had carried out the attack.

Nibras’ picture featured among the five. His body was found the next day among the one of those killed in the commando assault.

Investigators believe that the mystery as to who had trained the youths including Nibras and in whose contact they had been during their ‘disappearances’ could be solved once the whereabouts of their locations during that phase could be known.

By collating information gathered from family and other sources, it emerges that Nibras had been staying all the while at the mess owned by former army officer Kawsar Ali at Hamdah Sonaliparha in Jhenaidah.

As many as eight boarders, including Nibras alias Sayeed, occupied the four rooms at the mess. They left the mess a little before a week before the Eid-ul-Fitr.

The attack on the Gulshan cafe came six days before the Eid.

A management student from Jhenaidah Government KC College told bdnews24.com, on condition of anonymity, “He (Nibras) had boarded the mess four months ago. He would regularly play football with us. He spoke very good English.”

“At that time we knew him as Sayeed. He told us that he was staying at the mess to sit the Islamic University admission test. Now after seeing his photo (in the media) we realised that Nibras was Sayeed.”

Nibras comes from an affluent family in Dhaka and studied at North South University. But without completing his studies there, he got enrolled in Australia-based Monash University’s campus in Malaysia.

He returned home at the end of last year without completing his education there as well. Then he left home within months of his return from Malaysia.

Nibras received his education in English medium. His Facebook page had revealed his penchant for football.

The Sonaliparha mess owner’s wife Bilkis Nahar told bdnews24.com that the eight students who had lived there left the mess for Eid holidays but have not returned.

She said the Imam of the local mosque, Md Rokanuzzaman, had helped Nibras and another youth board the mess. “We did not know where they were from or what they did.”

When asked where her husband was, Bilkis said, a night before the Eid, a group of people identifying themselves as police came to search their home and the mess.

While departing, the group took her husband Kawsar Ali, their two sons Bensar Ali and Benzir Ali, Imam Rokanuzzaman and another person named ‘Sabbir’ with them, she said.

Jhenaidah SP Altaf Hossain, however, told bdnews24.com that they knew nothing about the arrest or detention of any of them.

Rokanuzzaman is a Jessore native. He had been presiding over the mosque prayers since last year.

He was appointed through an advertisement for the position issued in 2015, the mosque’s managing committee President Sharafat Hossain Joardar told bdnews24.com.

Joardar is also the Jhenaidah district unit president of Islami Andolan Bangladesh.

Security agencies have recently revealed the names of 10 other youths who have gone missing like Nibras.

Apart from the list of 10, fresh information is reaching security agencies about other similarly missing youths.

On Thursday, a GD was lodged with Jhenaidah police about 17-year-old 10th grader Hasan Ali.

His mother Sundari begum has stated that her son has been missing for a year.