Islamic militants being trained at KNF camp in daytime, Jihadi speeches at night

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Hill Voice, 26 December 2022, Special Correspondent: The militants of the Islamic militant organization named ‘Jamaatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya’ are undergoing armed training in military style on the basis of daily routine at the Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) camp in the remote hilly areas of Bandarban. Various physical exercises and weapons training are going on throughout the day. And at night, various senior leaders of the militant organization give speeches about Islamic Jihad to these teenagers and young people who had left their homes motivated by militancy. Through these lessions, the trainees get to know the head of Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya, Shameen Mahfuz, within few days.

Md. Asaduzzaman, Additional Police Commissioner of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit (CTTC) said this information in a press conference at Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) media center on Mintu Road in the capital last Thursday (December 22). He said that last Wednesday (December 21) Saiful Islam Tuhin (21) from Sylhet and Naeem Hossain from Dhaka were arrested by CTTC. Tuhin’s house is in Sylhet and Naeem’s house is in Chandpur.

It is to be worth mentioning, the Hill Voice’s investigation revealed that the KNF has set up a training camp called Kuki Training Center (KTC) in a remote hilly area between Siloupi Para and Thingdalte Para of Remakri Prangsa Union of Ruma Upazila. The armed terrorists of KNF have been providing military training to the militant members of Jamaatul Ansar Phil Hindal Sharqiya there.

According to local sources, the KNF and Islamic militants are now staying in the inaccessible hills splitting into two groups after the combing operation of the joint forces since last October. Among them, one group is staying in this KTC camp and another group has set up a camp near Munnuam Para of Paindu Union in Rowangchari Upazila, according to Hill Voice’s investigation. But it is very surprising that mysteriously the army has not yet conducted operation in these two camps. Many people suspect that there is a conspiracy of the army and DGFI officials deployed in Bandarban.

It is to be noted that KNDO/KNF known as Bawm Party was formed in 2008 with the support and patronage of the army and DGFI officials deployed in Bandarban. The army and DGFI officials have provided support to the KNF and Islamic militants pretending not to know about KNF’s armed activities and providing shelter and training to the international Islamic terrorist group Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya in return for money by the KNF.

In a press conference held on December 22, CTTC Additional Police Commissioner Md. Asaduzzaman said that two members of the new militant organization Jamaatul Ansar Phil Hindal Sharqiya were separated when the joint forces started operations in the hills. Later they separated and walked for about a month from the hills to the plains. These two militants took training in the KNF training camp for about a year. They were arrested by the CTTC under intelligence surveillance after reaching the plain land.

Asaduzzaman said, with the help of the KNF, the new Islamic militant organization set up a training camp in the hilly area. As a result of the raid of law and order forces, they were separated. Many members of the new Islamic militant organization were arrested in the operation. Many of them hide in the hills in groups. Some try to return to the plains and contact family.

The head of CTTC said that on November 15, three people including Saiful came to Dhaka in a microbus from Sylhet. In Dhaka they met four more ’emigrants’. From there they left for Bandarban by bus. On the way, the agents of the organization took their phone and money brought from home. In the meantime, their hair and beards are also cut off. Later, Saiful Islam went to Bandarban and saw that 10 other ’emigrants’ had arrived in the same bus with them. From Bandarban they went to Thanchi of Bandarban. From there, they walked for 12 hours in one night and reached the KNF training camp.

This official of DMP said that the student of the fourth semester of Sherebangla Agricultural Institution in Dhaka, Naeem Hossain, reached the KNF training camp on 2nd October 2022 without telling anyone, along with eight to 10 other people from Comilla via Thanchi.

Arrested Saiful and Naeem said that the room where Shamin Mahfuz was staying was guarded by armed militants in the camp. When KNF chief Nathan Bawm occasionally came to the camp, he used to go directly to Shamim Mahfuz’s room for discussions. After seven-eight days of training in the first camp, Shamim decided to set up camp in the hills near the Mizoram border or within Mizoram. But unable to go there, they returned. The rival groups in the hill area also attacked this camp guessing it was a Kuki-chin camp. Later Shamim Mahfuz went to another hill from there and made the second training camp along with the KNF.

When the joint forces conducted combing operation in the hills in October, the militants spread into the hills splitting into two groups. Separated from the group, Saiful and Naeem went on a walk to a Marma village. Later the people of that village caught them and handed them over to the KNF. The KNF found out their identities and released them after a month of torture. Finally, they walked for a month after seeing Sun’s position and house and tried to contact the family from Bandarban town. They arrived at Bandarban on 25 November 2022. In the meantime, CTTC found their staying under intelligence surveillance. Saiful Islam from Sylhet and Naeem from Dhaka were arrested during intelligence surveillance.

Apart from training, the youths from different parts of the country to prepare for Jihad in the hilly areas are also lured to gain financially through business. Besides training, the matter of financial gain attracted the youths. As a result they were easily led astray.