Police in northwestern Bangladesh shot dead a suspected senior leader of the JMB militant group, which authorities blamed for killing a blogger-publisher earlier this year and carrying out bombings and terrorist acts dating to 2005, officials said Tuesday.
Khorshed Alam, the “emir” or leader of Jamaat-ul Mujahideen (JMB), died following a gun battle with officers, police in Bogra district said.
“Khorshed was a big fish. He was one of the planners of the killing of blogger Shahzahan Bachchu in Munshiganj,” district police spokesman Sonaton Chokraborty told BenarNews.
Chokraborty said a police team came under attack while patrolling the area early Tuesday. Police retaliated, firing shotguns that seriously injured one person, identified as Alam, 38, while other suspects fled, according to the spokesman.
“We recovered the injured person who was profusely bleeding. Before his death, he disclosed his identity,” Chokraborty said. “He died on the way to Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital where the on-duty doctors declared him dead.”
Meanwhile, Bachchu’s daughter said she had not learned anything from police about efforts to track his killers.
A former secretary general of the Munshiganj district unit of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, Bachchu, 57, was at a pharmacy in Kakaldi village in Munshiganj when four suspects on two motorcycles gunned him down on June 11.
“We come to know from media that the militants have been killed in shootouts with the police. My father’s case is now closed,” daughter Durba Jahan told BenarNews.
“I wished to talk to the killers, if brought to justice, to ask why they killed my father. Their deaths make my dream unfulfilled,” Jahan said.
Police blamed Alam for previous attacks as well.
“In addition, Khorshed was one of the plotters of the 2014 ambush on a police van carrying fellow JMB militant Boma Mizan in Mymensingh,” Chokraborty said.
In February 2014, a group of militants fired on a prison van and snatched its occupants, including JMB militant Boma Mizan in a dramatic daylight operation in central Bangladesh’s Mymensingh district.
Mohammed Jahidul Islam, who is called Boma Mizan for his expertise in making bombs, was captured in southern India in August after being on the lam for more than four years. “Boma” means “bomb” in Bangla.
Alam was from the Jamalpur district, which was also home to JMB founder Shaikh Abdur Rahman.
On Aug. 17, 2005, JMB militants set off 600 bombs and other explosives in 63 of Bangladesh’s 64 districts, killing two people. The coordinated attacks forced the government to admit that militants were in the country.
Rahman and JMB’s military chief, Siddiqul Islam (alias Bangla Bhai), were executed in 2007 for their roles in the attacks.
Since then, JMB began regrouping after being dormant for several years.
A faction, Neo-JMB, broke away over ideological differences and carried out the July 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery café siege in Dhaka, killing 29 people, including five militants responsible for the attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) terror group.
Old JMB subscribed to the al-Qaeda ideology while the Neo-JMB followed IS, said retired Brig. Gen. Shahedul Anam Khan, a security analyst.
“Be it an old or new faction, JMB is the outfit that challenged the state. Police and Rapid Action Battalion crushed their networks,” he told BenarNews.