Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has started anti-militancy operations withing hill tract areas in Bangladesh, meanwhile according credible sources, a number of militancy outfits such as Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), Rohingya Salvation Organization (RSO), Nasrullah and few other militancy outfits have already penetrated within the Myanmar citizen Rohingyas who had been temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh in 2017. The source said, there are currently 9 camps of ARSA, 3 camps of Nasrullah, 10 camps of RSO and 4 camps of other militancy outfits within the Rohingya camps. These militancy outfits are getting fund from a number of nations including Pakistan, Turkey, and Qatar.
Meanwhile, another source said, global militancy outfits such as Al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS) have also penetrated within Rohingya camps in the country. It may be mentioned here that, Bangladeshi militancy outfit Ansar Al Islam is the local franchise of Al Qaeda while Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh is the counterpart of Islamic State. There also are small number of militancy group which is connected to Iranian proxy Hezbollah and Hamas.
RAB’s current anti-militancy drive
According to latest report received on October 21, 2022, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has arrested a total of 10 people, including seven members of the new militant organization Jamaatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya (JAFHS) and three of the hill separatist organization from different areas of Bandarban and Rangamati. A large volume of arms and ammunition was seized.
According to RAB, the number of runaway youths who had disappeared from different parts of the country is more than fifty. They are missing for between six months to more than two years. Family members of these missing youths knew that they were staying abroad for work and even were sending money to families at various times. But most of these missing youths are currently involved with militancy groups and have been taking training under various separatist and militancy outfit in Chittagong Hill Tracts and plotting armed and suicide attacks.
Intelligence agencies intensified surveillance within remote hilly areas in Bandarban and Rangamati areas in Chittagong Hill Tracts to gather further information on location and activities of militancy camps.
Referring to the preliminary interrogation of the arrested militants, RAB said that they were separated from their families for more than one and a half months to two years after joining the militancy outfit named ‘Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya’ (JAFHS). Some of them joined the militancy group through close relatives, friends and local acquaintances, while these missing youths came for
Among them, some are close relatives, some are friends, some local people and acquaintances get involved in this extremist organization. The missing youths came to Chittagong Hill Tract areas for training. Immediately after leaving their families, these newly joined members of the militancy outfit were sheltered inside “safe houses” in Patuakhali, Bhola and other districts in the southern part of Bangladesh, where they were given primary training. Once these youths passed in the primary trainings, they were sent to Chittagong Hill Tract areas in batches. Once they arrived in the training camps in Chittagong Hill Tract areas, these youths were given training of using various types of weapons, including assault rifles, while they also were taught the technic of making Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). Additionally, they are being given training of commando-styled attacks and covert operations.
It is further learnt from another source that Jamaatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya (JAFHS) maintains deeper links with Tablighi Jamaat as well as pro-caliphate Hefazat-e-Islam. Emir of Jamaatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya (JAFHS) militancy outfit is Mohammed Anisur Rahman aka Mahmud. There also are 6 members in its ‘Sura’ (advisory) council.
Amongst the sura members are Abdullah Maimun, in charge of dawah unit; Maksudur Rahman, in charge of military unit; Maruf Ahmed, second-in-command of military unit; Mosharraf Hussain, in charge of finance and media unit; and Shamim Mahfuz, chief supervisor and head of ‘Shaikh Alem’ unit in Bhola district.
This militancy outfit selected remote hilly areas in Bandarban and Rangamati districts for military training and was continuing activities under direct patronization of a local insurgency group. Leaders of Jamaatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya (JAFHS) are receiving food and logistics from this insurgency group, while sitting inside isolated camps, members of this jihadist group were running jihadist and anti-government propaganda through social media platforms and were maintaining communication mainly through Telegram apps.
Arrested members of the insurgency group told RAB, they are connected to military wing of Kuki Chin National Front (KCNF) also known as Bawm Party. An individual named Nathan Bawm is the head of KCNF. It is further learnt that relations between Nathan Bawm and the emir of Jamaatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya (JAFHS) was established in 2021 where Bawm and emir of Jamaatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya (JAFHS) reached into an agreement for providing combat training to the members of JAFHS until 2023 against monthly cash payment of BDT 300,000 and additional amount for bearing cost of all the members of KCNF.
It may be mentioned here that, JAFHS prioritizes Islamist invasion of India under the banner of ‘Ghazwa e Hind’ and establish caliphate in the country. It also considers the United States and other Western nations as “enemies of Allah”, while it also considers secularist and democratic forces as “infidels”. Leaders of JAFHS maintains deeper connections with Hizbul Mujahedin as well as other Islamist militancy groups in India.