IT expert of Bangladesh's banned militant outfit arrested

A Bangladeshi returnee from Syria, who is an IT expert working for the banned militant outfit Ansar Al-Islam, was arrested in Chittagong, police said on Saturday.

Police have also seized a mobile phone, tablet PC, notebook, Jihadi documents and a passport from his possession.

Shakhawat Ali Lalu, 40, was arrested from Chittagong's Khulshi area on Friday, three months after he had returned from Indonesia, where he was involved with some militant activities, police's counter-terrorism (CTTC) unit said.

The CTTC unit officials further said Shakhawat had met the tainted Army officer and one of the founders of the militant outfit Ansar Al-Islam Syed Ziaul Haque, the most wanted fugitive top militant trainer of the country.

Shakhawat was trained on heavy weaponry from the militant outfit Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, an active Sunni Islamist militant group involved in the Syrian Civil War. 

It was formed on January 28, 2017 as a merger among Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly al-Nusra Front), the Ansar al-Din Front, Jaysh al-Sunna, Liwa al-Haqq and the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement.

Shakhawat took part in the conflict in Idlib, a city in northwestern Syria. He then returned to Turkey after 10 failed attempts. Later, he moved with his family to Indonesia in 2019.

Shakhawat travelled to Syria via Turkey in 2017. After completing his training there, he carried out militancy in Indonesia.

After passing SSC exams in 1997, Shakhawat got his higher secondary certificate from Pandit Nehru Pre-university College in India's Bengaluru. 

He travelled to the UK in 2007 after completing computer courses at institutions in Bangladesh.

Rasib Khan, a sub-inspector (SI) at the counter-terrorism unit of police in Bangladesh told IANS that Shakhawat was forced into the militancy by his relatives Arif and Mamun, after he returned home from the UK in 2011.

Shakhawat joined Ansar Al-Islam in 2012, police added.

Chittagong Metropolitan Magistrate Hossain Mohammad Reza on Saturday sent Shakhawat to 3-day police custody.



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