Three Dhaka cafe ‘attackers’ from schools with Western curriculum, ‘rich’ families

After SITE Intelligence Group released photos of five gunmen who, the Islamic State claims, killed at least 20 persons, mostly foreigners, in a cafe in Dhaka, former classmates have started identifying the attackers with the help of the social media.

Social Media
Published : 2 July 2016, 11:04 PM
Updated : 2 July 2016, 11:04 PM

It emerges that they are from well-known schools with Western curriculum for the children of the well-to-do in the city, not from any of the madrasas that are often termed a breeding grounds for militants.

They come off a social class that knows the kind that hang out at Holey Artisan Bakery at Dhaka’s upscale Gulshan district.

Three of the gunmen whose photos the IS purportedly released have so far been identified.

One of them, Nibras Islam, has been recognised by his former classmates in the private North South University that requires almost all students to pay high tuition fees.

His high school, International Turkish Hope School, is not for everyone in Bangladesh.

Young Nibras has been identified as ‘treasurer’ of Australia-based Monash University’s International Student Services for its Malaysia campus.

He returned from Malaysia and enrolled at the private university in Dhaka because ‘he didn’t like it in Monash’. He liked football.

His businessman father has two houses in Dhaka.

One of Nibras’s three uncles is a deputy secretary to the government, another is a police officer while the other is a scientist.

Nibras Islam

The two other gunmen have been identified as Mir Samih Mubashir and Rohan Imtiaz. Both went to Scholastica.

Both had gone missing before the incident.

A local newspaper has reported that Mubashir had been missing for the previous four months.

His father, Mir A Hayat Kabir, an executive at Alcatel-Lucent Bangladesh, registered his son’s details with Gulshan police on Feb 29, the day he ‘went missing’.

His mother Khaleda Parveen teaches at a government college. His elder brother is studying at the University of Toronto.

Rohan’s father, SM Imtiaz Khan Babul, is a former executive of Dhaka city unit of ruling Awami League. He is also a deputy secretary general of Bangladesh Olympic Association.

The Awami League leader is being investigated for alleged human smuggling.

He, too, informed Mohammadpur Police on Jan 4 of his son ‘going missing’.   

Twenty years old Rohan was studying at BRAC University after completing higher secondary education from Scholastica,where his mother is a teacher.

One Mahbub Rajib posted a family photo of Rohan along with the one ‘released by the IS’.


Gunmen, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’, stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery, the cafe in Dhaka’s diplomatic heart of Gulshan, on Friday evening.

The assailants took a number of hostages and killed two policemen, who had earlier tried to end the siege.

Commandos stormed the eatery on Saturday morning and rescued 13 hostages. The Army said six attackers had been killed and another caught alive during the rescue operation.

It also said 20 hostages were found dead on the premises. The victims include nine from Italy, seven from Japan and one from India. The three others are Bangladeshis, including one with US citizenship. 

Terrorism observer group SITE published the photos of the attackers on Saturday night.

Police have also released photos of the gunmen killed during the assault.

Four persons seemed to be in both sets of photos published by police and IS.

A family in Shariatpur has identified the other person as Saiful Islam Chowkider, a chef of the Holey Artisan Bakery, popular with foreigners and expatriate Bangladeshis.

Police chief AKM Shahidul Hoque said five of the dead gunmen were listed as militants and police had been looking for them.

Police identified them as ‘Akash’, ‘Bikash’, ‘Don’, ‘Bandhon’, and ‘Ripon’.

Mir Sabih Mubashsher

A group of terrorism observers, Terrorism Monitor, identified the persons in the ‘IS-released photos’ as Abu Omar, Abu Salam, Abu Rahim, Abu Muslim, and Abu Muharib, all with the title ‘al-Bengali’, an indication that they are Bangladeshi.

IS fighters reportedly get such war names during recruitment.

Police have dismissed the IS claim, saying the militants belong to home-grown radical groups.

Bangladesh authorities have been rejecting such claims by the IS and al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) since the recent series of killings started happening.

Among the IS-claimed attacks, two were carried out on foreigners.

The first victim, Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella, was gunned down in the same Gulshan area last year.

Japanese farmer Kunio Hoshi was the second foreigner to be killed in Bangladesh.

The others are writers, bloggers, a publisher, and people with differing religious and social views.