Bangladesh nabs leader of banned Islamic group
Yahiya returned to Bangladesh in 1992 after the Mujahidin war in Afghanistan. In December of 2005, he was arrested for alleged involvement in a series of bombings. Later he jumped bail and was absconding.
The leader of a banned jihadist group was arrested by Bangladesh’s elite anti-terror unit while he was traveling on a passenger bus Thursday.
The Rapid Action Battalion captured Hafez Maulana Yahiya and two of his bodyguards on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway northeast of the capital Dhaka. Yahiya has been identified as acting chief of the banned militant outfit Harkatul Jihad al-Islami (HuJI), confirmed M Sohail, director of the legal and media wing of the battalion.
The United States lists HuJI as an international terror organization, as have the international police (Interpol). The jihadist network is active in the South Asia nations of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The terror network moved its headquarters from Pakistan to Bangladesh after allied countries invaded Afghanistan in 2001.
In a daring bid to assassinate opposition leader Sheikh Hasina in 2004, HuJI militants attacked her rally in the capital with hand grenades and sniper rifles. The attack was allegedly masterminded by Yahiya. Hasina is presently the prime minister of Bangladesh.
The RAB said Yahiya, 60, had served as the acting chief of HuJI since its former chief, Maulana Sheikh Farid, was detained on July 26. HuJI’s sole mentor Maulana Fazlur Rahman is the most wanted person and his whereabouts are unknown, said retired General Moniruzzaman, chief of a global security think-tank.