Nathan Bawm and Shamim Mahfuz met first for dialogue in Cox’s Bazar

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Photo: Nathan Bawm (left) and Shamim Mahfuz (right)

Hill Voice, 28 October 2022, Special Correspondent: For the first collaborative dialogue, Islamic militant leader Shamim Mahfuz and Bawm Party leader Nathan Bawm met a hotel in Cox’s Bazar in 2019. On behalf of the Islamic militants- Shamim Mahfuz, Roxy, Mohsin alias Real (obtained Honors and Masters degree from Bangladesh Agricultural University), Bikash and Tamal were present there. On the other hand, the meeting was attended by Nathan Bawm and two of his associates on behalf of the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), known as Bawm Party. In the talk, Mahfuz assured of providing  all training expenses and supply of weapons to KNF.

Yesterday (Thursday, October 27), in a press conference organized at DMP’s media center on Minto Road, Dhaka,  Additional Commissioner Md. Asaduzzaman, the Chief of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) said that the aim of the Islamic militant outfit  Jamaat-ul-Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya was achieving the ability to strike back when organizational work is interrupted. That is why hilly areas are chosen as safe zone. At the same time, it is planned to form a modern commando on the model of the armed forces who will work as a backup team for other militant outfits in the country. They will safely participate in the armed operation and return to the hilly region.

Additional Commissioner Md. Asaduzzaman also said that airgun, shotgun and light weapons are currently being used in commando team training, but a consignment of sophisticated weapons was supposed to arrive soon, the training of which they would take. This new militant outfit follows Al-Qaeda, is not yet organizationally operational, but after gaining capacity, it is expected to conduct radicalization operations.

Meanwhile, CTTC arrested five members of Sharqiya from Demra of the capital on Wednesday (October 26). They are – Abdullah from Natore, Tajul Islam from Chandina of Comilla, Ziauddin and Mahamudul Hasan from Narayanganj and Habibullah from Madaripur. Three mobile phones and 12 pages of fatwa-related documents were seized from them.

CTTC sources said the hijrat persons (migrants) were taken to the camp and trained in three steps. In the first step, physical training was given in hill camps. In the second phase, combat tactics were trained with dummy weapons. The last step was to teach patrolling. Shamin Mahfuz alias SIR who led the organization was a student of Rangpur Cadet College.

Mahfuz was admitted to Dhaka University and later joined militancy through the banned Jamaatul Muslimeen (JM).  From the very beginning, his target was to form a different type of militant outfit. But in 2011, he could not implement the plan as the police arrested him on charges of setting up a training center for a militant outfit.

Later in 2014, Mahfuz was arrested by the police in a separate case and sent to jail.  Mainly at that time, he managed to meet Maulana Abu Saeed, a member of Huzi, who was sentenced to death in the August 21 grenade attack case, and Mufti Mainul Islam alias Roxy, chief coordinator of AQIS.  While in prison, Roxy assured him that Shura members of his outfit could be added to that outfit.

According to that discussion, after being released on bail in 2017, Mahfuz started the activities of the new militant outfit and decided to make the headquarter in Bandarban. He tried to make an agreement with the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF), a hilly armed group, thinking that the hill armed groups would be a big threat to. KNF was led by Nathan Bawm. Meanwhile, Nathan Bawm contested as an independent candidate in the 11th National Assembly elections in 2018. After that, Mahfuz found out that this Nathan Bawm, who is the leader of KNF was a former student of DU and his close friend.

It was  learnt that arrested Abdullah ran the Ansar House (Shelter Home). The members of new militant outfit from different parts of the country who left their homes for the purpose of emigration were given accommodation in this Ansar House. Later, from that Ansar House, Abdullah would send members of this new militant outfit to the hilly region for training. Apart from this, the arrested Tajul and Habibullah used to receive the members of the new militant outfit who came to Ansar House from different areas of the capital Dhaka.

Shaker Bin Wali was the head of the Dawa (invitee) department of this new militant outfit. Shaker Bin Wali completed MBBS from Comilla Medical College Hospital. He used to treat the members of the militant outfit and encouraged the youths to militancy under the instructions of another Huzur. This Shaker Bin Wali used to visit the new militant outfit’s training camp in Bandarban once a month for treatment. Apart from this, Dr. Shaker Bin Wali used to go and treat the members of the hilly terrorist organization KNF who stayed in the training camp with the militant organization.

It is worth mentioning that during the combing operation of the joint forces in Reingkhyong Valley, militant members of Jamaat-ul-Ansar Phil Hindal Sharqiya along with armed terrorists of the Bawm Party carried out an armed attack on the army on 12 October 2022, in Saizam para of Bortholi union in Bilaichari Upazila,, according to the “plan to strike back if the organizational work is obstructed.”

It should also be noted that with the purpose of undermining the process of implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord and thwarting the Jumma people’s ongoing movement for implementation of  CHT Accord as well as rights to self-determination under the leadership of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), the KNF popularly known as Bawm party is the latest one among the armed terrorist groups is patronised and sheltered by the state forces.  Bawm Party has been nurtured with great care by the state forces since its birth and that Bawm party has now been boomerang today by indulging Islamic militants and engaging in armed attacks on state forces in collaboration with Islamic militants.

Note that an agreement was signed in 2021 between the Bawm Party and the Islamic militant organization as a result of the understanding dialogue between Nathan Bam and Shamim Mahfuz. According to the said agreement, Islamic militants pay Tk 30 lakh monthly to the Bawm Party for training of Islamic militant members by the Bawm Party. As part of that, on 4 October 2022, Nathan Bawm withdrew Tk 30 lakh from the Lohagara branch of Islami Bank.