8 Bangladeshi men detained under ISA
EIGHT Bangladeshi workers who were planning to stage terror attacks back home have been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
The men, aged between 26 and 34, called their group the Islamic State in Bangladesh (ISB) and intended to join terror group ISIS as foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, the Ministry of Home Affairs said.
But as it was difficult to travel to the Middle East, they focused on returning home to topple their government through violence, set up an Islamic State there and bring it under the self-declared caliphate of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
They were detained last month, in the first ISA detentions involving a terror cell of foreign workers.
Late last year, a closed religious study group of 27 radicalised Bangladeshi workers, who held extremist material, were arrested under the ISA and deported. Their deportations were made public in January.
As for the eight, the ministry said yesterday its investigations found that the men had specifically identified possible targets for attack back home at the time of their arrest.
They also had material on weapons and bomb-making, and raised funds to buy firearms for attacks in Bangladesh. A modest amount of money, which authorities did not disclose, has also been seized.
The group's leader, Rahman Mizanur, 31, was an S-Pass holder in construction who set up ISB as a clandestine group in March this year.
He recruited the other seven, all Work Permit holders employed in the local construction and marine industries. They are: Mamun Leakot Ali, 29; Sohag Ibrahim, 27; Miah Rubel, 26; Zzaman Daulat, 34; Islam Shariful, 27; Md Jabath Kysar Haje Norul Islam Sowdagar, 30; and Sohel Hawlader Ismail Hawlader, 29.
According to ISB members, there are at least two more members in the group who are in Bangladesh.
"ISB poses a security concern to Singapore because of its support for ISIS and its readiness to resort to the use of violence overseas," the ministry said in a statement.
"The detained ISB members are still under investigation for their activities in Singapore. Rahman Mizanur has said he would carry out an attack anywhere if he was instructed by ISIS to do so, though there are no specific indications that Singapore had as yet been selected as a target."
Several of those detained may be liable for prosecution for terrorism financing, the ministry added.
The detentions come at a time of mounting concern that ISIS is gaining support in Bangladesh, which has recently seen radicals carrying out deadly attacks on minorities.
A document titled We Need For Jihad Fight was recovered from Rahman Mizanur. It had a list of Bangladeshi government and military targets.
Also on it were "media peoples" and "disbelievers".
He also possessed documents on weapons and bomb-making, and ISIS and Al-Qaeda radical material which he used to recruit ISB members in Singapore from January this year.
As part of its operation, another five Bangladeshi workers were investigated under the ISA. The ministry said they were not involved in ISB.
But they "possessed and/or proliferated jihadi-related materials, or supported the use of armed violence in pursuit of a religious cause".
All five have been repatriated.