Jama'atul Ansar Fil HindalSharqiya was an attempt to organize another religious extremist outfit in Bangladesh after others such as the JMB and the Ansar Team Bangladesh had been suppressed by the Counter Terrorism forces.
Jamatul Ansar Fil HindalSharqiya founder ShaminMahfuz joined hands with the Kuki Chin (KNF) chief Nathan Bom to train and facilitate extremists and members of the militant outfit.
This had led to a sudden increase in the number of cadres of the outfit trained in terrorist attacks but the links were sutured with the arrest of these.
On June 23, Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit (CTTC) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police arrested the most wanted ShaminMahfuz, the founder of militant group Jama'atul Ansar Fil HindalSharqiya dealing a blow to the outfit.
Members of the elite force arrested ameer of Jama'atulv Ansar Anisur Rahman alias Mahmud, 32, raiding his rented house in Louhajong of Munshiganj around 3:00am. Anisur's two associates Kazi Soraj Uddin alias Siraj, 34, and Mahfuzur Rahman Bijoy, were also arrested during the drive along with firearms, ammunition, bomb-making materials, radical contents, and cash.
The arrest of the core group of leaders implies that the group may have been largely marginalized.
Jama'atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya (JAFHS)
The new militant outfit by the name of Jama'atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya (JAFHS) was formed by former members of banned Islamist groups. Formation of the JAFHS was planned in jail by leaders of three groups who had been arrested years ago.
Multiple separatist groups in the CHT may have been harbouring members of Jama'atul Ansar and allowing them to use the area to train recruits, RAB suspects.
How the Group Was Formed?
One of the planners, ShaminMahfuz, 47, a former Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh leader is seen as the key figure of JAFHS since its formation in 2019.
Shamin alias Mending Murang, 47, is well educated and was a member of the Islami Chhatrashibir due to which he was expelled from a cadet college. He is also former teacher of Bangladesh Open University who graduated from Dhaka University and was on the merit lists of SSC and HSC results. He is known in the outfit as "Sir", as per the CTTC chief as per details provided by the Daiy Star.
Shamin arrested in 2014 for his involvement with JMB as he was recruiting operatives across the country and giving them training on arms in Chittagong Hill Tracts developed contacts with Ansar al Islam operative Mainul Hasan Roxy who was jailed for possession of explosives from the capital's Darus Salam area.
Shamin and Roxy came in contact with Harkat-ul Jihad Al Islami (Huji) leader Maulana Abu Sayeed alias Dr Abu Zafar, sentenced to death in a case over the August 21 grenade attack. Roxy, also known as journalist Mithu, was arrested in 2021 for carrying out militant activities in the hills. The three are said to have planned the new outfit to escape the dragnet of surveillance and bans thus appearing under a new non de guerre.
Support by KNF
The JAFHS sought support from Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) for training and sanctuary. KNF provided advanced training to the Bangla outfit after they were initially trained in the plains. KNF was provided Tk 3 lakh per month and expenditure for food
JAFHS leaders led by Shamin, had a meeting with "separatist" organisation KNF chief Nathan Bom, also a university friend of Shamin, at a Cox's Bazar Hotel and struck a "deal" to train the group in exchange for money.
Leadership of JAFHS
RAB has identified Md Anisur Rahman alias Mahmud as the ameer or head of Jama'atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya he is still absconding.
One of the arrested Manik was a member of the Majlis-e-Shura, the highest policy-making body, member of the militant outfit and was serving as the second in command of its military wing.
Other Shura members are Abdullah Maynul, in charge of Dawah wing, Mashrur Rahman, in charge of military wing, Mosharraf Hossain, in charge of finance and media wing, Shamim Mahfuz, advisor to the outfit, and a Shyakh from Bhola, in charge of the Alem wing as per information provided by the Daily Star.
Some of the youth were inspired by Dr Shakir bin Wali, head of the Dawa department of Jama'atul Ansar.
The KNF is said to be the political organization of the small ethnic groups of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) which demands a separate State in the CHT of Bangladesh with autonomy. Initially established as Kuki-Chin National Development Organization (KNDO) in 2008 with some educated circles of the backward and disadvantaged Kuki-Chin communities (of Bawm, Pangkhua, Lushai, Khumi, Mru & Khiang) was established to promote economic development, preservation of cultural features, protect land grabbing and to establish harmony and peace in the backward region and backward small communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh as per Lt Col (Self Declared) Solomon of the KNF. Later it seems to have taken the path of violence.
Homing on to the Group
The RAB has been tracking a number of missing youth in the country as a process of counter terror surveillance. This had led to number of missing youth from the hinterland. Names of 55 youth were collected with phone numbers and addresses which gradually led to unravelling of the group in Bangladesh.
Thus while the overall terrorist situation in Bangladesh remains stable, undercurrents of radical Islamists and small separatist groups will have to be kept under watch.