Three women students of a private university and a woman intern at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital have been arrested for their alleged links with the outlawed JMB group, blamed for the terror attack on an upscale cafe in Dhaka that killed 22 people, including an Indian girl. The elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on Tuesday said the Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh women operatives were monitored before the arrests on Monday night.
“We came to know about women operatives from an earlier arrest of a JMB regional chief. We secretly monitored one of them and then arrested the four from different areas of the city,” a RAB official said. He confirmed one of the arrested JMB operatives was an intern at the state-run hospital and the three others were pharmacy students of Manarat University. One of them is believed to be the recruiter of the gang.
“We secured substantial information about JMB from her phone records,” he said. The RAB issued a group photo of the four in custody in which the women could be seen in veils covering their faces. The arrests were the second major success for authorities probing JMB’s women activists after the arrest of seven women last month from central Tangail district. Of the seven, at least three were part of “suicide squad”, police had said.
In another development, police’s counter-terrorism unit chief Monirul Islam told reporters they have identified seven more suspects involved in the attack on Holey Artisan cafe on July 1, apart from fugitives Tamim Chowdhury and Nurul Islam Marzan. “We have identified the fresh suspects by their organizational names so far. Investigations are underway to gather more information about them,” Islam said. The police also claimed to have tracked down Chowdhury and Marzan and “they are staying very much in Dhaka”.
On August 12, police unidentified Marzan and Chowdhury. The next day, they named former university teacher Hasnat Karim in the case. Police have arrested more than a dozen presumed JMB activists, which they call neo-JMB activists because of their inclination towards the Islamic State terrorist group, which initialy claimed the cafe attack. But authorities have denied presence of IS in Bangladesh.