HOLEY ARTISAN ATTACK

Plotters remain unidentified: CTTC chief

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:34, Jun 30,2018

 
 

Police guarding Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka after 2016 terror attack. — New Age file photo

On the two years of the Holey Artisan Bakery attack on July 1, the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said on Saturday that none of the plotters and their political patronisers could be identified as leaders of the attackers, including Bangladeshi-Canadian Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury and a dozen others killed in drives against extremists.
CTTC chief Monirul Islam said they could contain the rest of the incident following the attack but the extremism in Bangladesh is
still very complex.
‘As we failed to catch Tamim Chowdhury and many other organisers alive, it was not be possible to identify whether they had any link with any quarter or political party that intended to bring down the government,’ the CTTC chief told reporters in his office on Minto Road in Dhaka.
He also said there was nothing to be complacent rather continuous efforts were needed to fight back extremism.
Monirul claimed that they had learnt about the motive and it was done to put the ‘secular government’ into awkward situation so that it could be easier to the people who wanted to oust the government.
On July 1, 2016, five young men armed with guns and knives stormed the upscale café at Gulshan, held dozens hostage and killed 22, including 17 foreigners.
Some 31 cops were injured in the incident.
Middle East-based extremist organisation Islamic State claimed the responsibility of a number of attacks, including the Holey Artisan, and Jahangir and others were also named in those cases.
To commemorate the day, the Holey Artisan Bakery premises will remain open for the people to pay tribute to the victims between 9:00am and 2:00pm today.
The DMP commissioner Asaduzzaman Miah, among others, will place wreath at the bakery place where two officials were also killed during the attack.
The CTTC is yet to submit charge sheet in the case.
The investigators continued claiming that they had completed the investigation long ago and now were scrutinising the evidence to make the charge sheet undisputable.
‘We want to put the charge sheet on online for transparency of investigation and for others who are interested to conduct research on it,’ said one of the investigators.
The investigators branded 30-year-old Bangladeshi-Canadian Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury as the mastermind of the attack which, the investigators believed, was finally planned three months before the attack.
The investigators, however, claimed that they could establish no connection between the extremist group and foreign fighters.
They found that half of the suspected extremists were former operatives of banned extremist group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, while the rest, including retired major Jahidul Islam, pledged allegiance to Tamim.
The investigators found involvement of 21 individuals in the attack.
Tamim’s five ‘trusted’ operatives — Nibrash Islam, Mir Samih Mubashir and Rohan Imtiaz, all from English-medium background, and Md Khairul Islam Payel alias Badhan and Md Shafiqul Islam Uzzal alias Bikash, both from Bogra — were killed in an operation on July 2, 2016, when army commandos stormed into the café to rescue hostages.
Eight other suspects — Tamim, former JMB operative Sarwar Jahan, Chittagong University student Nurul Islam Marjan, retired major Jahidul Islam, software engineer Basharuzzaman Chocolate, Abu Raihan Tarik and banker Tanvir Qaderi — were killed in operations in Dhaka and elsewhere.
Whereabouts of two suspected extremists — Shariful Islam Khalid and Mamunur Rashid Ripon — were yet to be known.
The investigators claimed that the two, convicted of the murder of Rajshahi University English professor AKM Rezaul Karim Siddique on April 23, 2016, fled to India.
The number of suspects would be 21 and the investigators would not name Hasnat Karim, who was also trapped during the attack but kept confined nearly two years on his suspicious role.
The investigators specified the role of the attackers, the financers and arms suppliers, while security forces branded the operatives as members of JMB faction led by Sarwar and Tamim.
JMB, however, in online statements in 2016 and 2017, dismissed its involved in the attack and claimed that a few misguided members had left the outfit.
Arms, ammunition and explosives were brought from India, and money came from Middle East, the investigators said.
As of March 25, 2018, the counter terrorism unit captured seven suspects — Jahangir Alam alias Rajib Gandhi, Rashed alias Rash, Sohel Mafuz Nasrullah, Rakibul Islam Regan, Mizanur Rahman, Hadisur Rahman Sagor and hostage Hasnat Karim, who was there with his family and was caught during interrogation.
Of them, Jahangir Alam, Raqibul Islam and Mizanur Rahman made statements in courts and reportedly named 21 individuals.
The bakery’s chef Saiful Chokider was also killed in commando operation while staff Mohammad Shaon later died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital in custody.
The investigators said they were yet to identify any connection of chef Saiful and staff Mohammad Shaon to the attack.
Monirul Islam said of the 21 suspects of the case, 13 were killed in operations, and rest eight would be named as accused in the charge sheet.
After the café attack, at least 80 suspected extremists, all of the JMB faction, or their family members were either killed or committed suicide in law enforcers’ raids at places including Dhaka. 

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