Bangladesh arrests two suspected Islamic State activists

Reuters News
Posted: May 25, 2015 3:12 AM

By Ruma Paul

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladeshi police have arrested two suspected members of the Islamic State group who had planned to fight alongside militants in Syria, a police official said on Monday, adding to concerns about the rise of extremist groups in South Asia.

The pair were detained during a raid in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, on Sunday night, said Sheikh Nazmul Alam, a senior official of the police detective branch.

One man, Aminul Islam, was the information technology head of a multinational company, and worked as a regional coordinator for Islamic State, while the other, Sakib Bin Kamal, was a teacher at a school in Dhaka, he added.

"They had been collecting members for the group from Bangladesh," he told Reuters, adding that the men had confessed to having convinced at least 25 students to join IS.

At least 12 people have been arrested in Bangladesh in recent months for suspected involvement with Islamic State, which has seized control of swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria in recent months.

Reports of the growing influence of Islamic State have raised fears across South Asia. But it remains unclear whether militants organising under the Islamic State name are acting on their own or as part of a centralised initiative from the Middle East.

Bangladesh is already on alert after three secular bloggers were killed by radical Islamists since February.

(Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Paul Tait and Clarence Fernandez)