Five men, including three youths, who apparently left home to join militant groups have been arrested by the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) from the capital's Jatrabari and Keraniganj.
Commander Khandaker Al Moin, director of Rab’s Legal and Media Wing, also revealed in a briefing Monday that they have identified a total of 55 reportedly missing from different districts, who were suspected to leave home to join militant groups.
Of the five arrested today, two are relatively senior, working with the group as a host and fund supplier of the militant group, he said.
The arrestees were identified as militant group member Shah Md Habibullah, 32, Neyamat Ullah, 43, from Cumilla and missing youths Saiful Islam, 19, from Noakhali, Md Hossain,22, and Rakib Hasnat Niloy, 28 from Dhaka.
They were all arrested on Sunday night along with leaflets, books of extremist messages from the city’s Jatrabari and Keraniganj area during a drive, said the Rab commander..
On August 23, eight youths from Cumilla sadar upazila went missing and a general diary was lodged with police in this regard after two days. The incident sparked a huge sensation across media and social media and Rab started a detective investigation to rescue the victims and arrest the accused.
On September 1, one of the missing youths, Shartaz Islam Niloy, 22, returned home.
On October 6, Rab arrested seven people including four missing youths for involvement with a militant group from a drive conducted in Munshiganj, Naryanganj and Mymensingh following the information collected from questioning Niloy.
On interrogation, the arrestees revealed that initially the members of the organization used to target youths from different parts of the country, including Cumilla.
Later they incited the youths with extremism by showing different videos of persecution of Muslims and encouraged them to get separated from their families to prepare for armed attacks.
Arrested Hossain left home a year ago, Saiful one and a half months ago Rakib disappeared two months ago from his home.
Rab Commander Khandaker Al Moin said the missing youths were sent to various areas including Patuakhali and Bhola for training in armed attacks.
The youths were kept in different safe houses under the supervision of different persons in Patuakhali area and provided various training on physical exercise and militancy in different Char areas of Patuakhali and Bhola.
Also, as a strategy to stay under cover, they were given technical training in various fields like masons, painters, electricians.