5 more militants arrested from Bandarban, KNF leaders remain elusive

Photo: Collected

Hill Voice, 12 January 2023, Special Correspondent: Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)-7 has reportedly arrested 5 more members of the militant organization ‘Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya’ from the remote areas of Rowangchari and Thanchi upazila of Bandarban district. Before this, on 8 January 2023, 3 members of this organization were arrested by the police from Naikhhyongchari in Bandarban and Kadamtoli in Dhaka. According to RAB sources, out of the 55 members of Jamaatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya who were receiving militant training from the hill armed organization KNF, a total of 15 militant members have been arrested so far.

However, RAB and army have arrested a few ordinary members of Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), known as the army-backed Bawm Party, which provides shelters and training to these militant members in Chittagong Hill Tracts, but their top leaders and armed members remain still elusive. Even now, there are regular reports of providing military training to Islamic militants during the day and Jihadi speeches of militants at night in the remote hilly areas of Bandarban.

RAB Media Wing Assistant Director Khandoker Al Moin said in a press conference today (January 11) that the 5 militants were arrested yesterday (January 11).

The 5 arrested militants are- (1) Nizamuddin Hiron alias Yusuf (30), son of Abdul Quddus, from Mukilla, Sonaimuri Police Station, Noakhali District; (2) Saleh Ahmed alias Saiha (27), son of Abdur Razzak, from Comilla District; (3) Md. Sadiqur Rahman Sumon alias Farkun (30), son of Sirajul Islam, from Sylhet District; (4) Md. Baijid Islam alias Muaz alias Bairu (21), son of late Shafiqul Islam, from Comilla District and (5) Imran Bin Rahman shithil alias Billal (17), son of Md. Mojibur Rahman, from Comilla.

Among those arrestees, Saleh Ahmed alias Saiha, Md Sadiqur Rahman Sumon alias Farqun and Imran bin Rahman Shithil alias Billal were reportedly arrested from the remote area of Thanchi and Md Baizid Islam alias Muaz alias Bairu and Nizamuddin Hiron alias Yusuf from the remote area of Rowangchari.

According to RAB’s Media Wing Assistant Director Khandakar Al Moin, ‘the arrested Nizamuddin Hiran returned home from Oman in 2019, after that he went to Chittagong Hill Tracts for military training in December 2021.

On 27 February 2021, the arrested Saleh Ahmed alias Saiha along with 7 others went to the KNF training camp in Bandarban to undergo military training.

The arrested Sadiqur Rahman Sumon alias Farkun went to Bandarban on 15 November 2021 to undergo training.

The arrested Baijid Islam alias Bairu went to Bandarban under the supervision of Mahmud to undergo military training in November 2021 and was staying there till now.

Arrested Imran bin Rahman Shithil alias Billal left for Bandarban on 18 September 2022. Till his arrest, Imran bin Shithil was staying with the militant hiding in the Hills.

During the initial interrogation, the arrestees said that they came to the hideout in Bandarban at various times starting from February 2021 under the supervision of the hill separatist armed organization KNF under the organizational management of the extremist militant organization Jamaatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya.

They also learnt that under the guidance of KNF chief Nathan Bawm, so-called military commander Brigadier General Vangchunglian Bawm, Lt. Col. Solomon, Lt. Col. Laljong Mui alias Mawiya and Lt. Col. Lal Moonthial alias Chir Chir Moy and other leading separatist terrorists, KNF members are helping the Islamic militants in hiding in the hills from the prying eyes of the law enforcement agencies and are still providing various logistics and equipment including training, food to the militants.

RAB Media Wing Assistant Director Khandaker Al Moin also said that on October 20, 2022, RAB conducted raids in Saizam Para of Bilaichari in Rangamati and Rawangchari in Bandarban and arrested 7 members of this Islamic militant organization and 3 members of separatist group KNF.

It was mentioned in a press conference organized by Mohammad Asaduzzaman, Additional Commissioner of Police of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit (CTTC) said on December 22, 2022 at the media center of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) on Mintu Road in the capital that the armed training of Islamic militants is going on during the day in the KNF camp in the remote hilly area of Bandarban.

Hill Voice’s investigation revealed that the armed terrorists of KNF imparted military training to the militant members of Jamaatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya at Kuki Training Center (KTC) in a remote hilly area between Siloupi Para and Thingdalte Para of Remakri Prangsa Union of Ruma Upazila.

Earlier investigative report by Hill Voice also revealed the sheltering of the Bawm Party by the Army’s Bandarban Brigade and Ruma Zone, patronage and support to the Bawm Party by Islamic militant organizations, secret agreements between the Bawm Party and the Islamic militants, according to which the Bawm Party armed terrorists provide shelter and military training to the Islamic militants in their hideouts, and in exchange for providing military training and in exchange for buying arms, accommodation, medical treatment, etc., the Islamic militants provided financial support to the Bawm Party. According to the report, it is known that the Islamic militant organization is providing financial assistance of Tk 30 lakhs per month to the Bawm Party.