Dhaka cafe attackers' spiritual leader arrested: Bangladesh police

Bangladesh has suffered a spate of attacks on secular activists, foreigners and religious minorities in recent years.

Published: 03rd March 2017 12:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2017 12:08 PM   |  A+A-

The back garden of an upscale cafe in Dhaka, a day after a bloody siege ended in July. (File Photo | AFP)

By AFP

DHAKA: Bangladesh police said Friday they had arrested the "spiritual leader" of a banned Islamist outfit alleged to have carried out a series of deadly attacks in the country.

Police detained Maolana Abul Kashem, 60, from a hideout in the capital on Thursday night after an investigation linked him to the Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) group.

Mohibul Islam Khan, deputy commissioner of the Dhaka police counter-terrorism unit, said Kashem had inspired the attack on a Dhaka cafe last July in which 22 people including 18 foreign hostages were killed.  

"He was the spiritual leader of the JMB," Khan told AFP.

"In our primary investigation we have found all (the extremists) were inspired by him."

Khan said Kashem had met the alleged mastermind of the cafe attack Tamim Chowdhury "several times".

Bangladesh has suffered a spate of attacks on secular activists, foreigners and religious minorities in recent years.

Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group have claimed responsibility for several of the attacks, but Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's secular government has pinned the blame on local extremists.

Bangladeshi security forces have launched a nationwide crackdown on Islamist extremist groups since the cafe attack, arresting scores of suspected extremists.

Several top leaders of the JMB have also been killed, most in what police said were shoot-outs. Rights groups have voiced suspicions these may have been staged. 

Another counter-terrorism police officer Sanwar Hossain said Kashem had headed an Islamic seminary before joining the JMB in 1998.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp