07/24/2018, 14.21
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Eight Islamic terrorists indicted for Dhaka massacre

by Sumon Corraya

The police present the results of two years of investigations. In total, at least 21 people involved in the bloodiest attack in the country's recent history. The suspects are members of the New Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh; two of them are on the run. Police chief: "The militants wanted to put pressure on the government".


Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Bangladesh police formally indicted eight Islamic terrorists who were held responsible for the attack on the Dhaka foreign bar on July 1, 2016. Monirul Islam, head of the anti-terrorism unit to Contrast Transnational Crime in Bangladesh (Cttc), gave the news yesterday, presenting the results of two years of investigations and interrogations at a press conference.

Many express satisfaction with the work of the investigators. Commenting to AsiaNews, Liton Gomes, a young Catholic, said: "I am pleased that the police have closed investigations quickly. This is a good example for our country and will help protect it from the activities of Islamic fundamentalists ".

The attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery Cafè in the capital, a meeting place for numerous foreigners and business people who live in the Gulshan district, home to several embassies, was the bloodiest in the recent history of the Asian country. 

On the evening of 1 July 2016, armed with rifles and other weapons, five Islamist militants broke into the bar and took their customers hostage. Those who knew how to recite the verses of the Koran by heart, were let go; the others, murdered without hesitation. 

Throughout the night, the bombers engaged a gun battle with the special police departments. At the end of the 12-hour siege, 20 victims were counted, including 17 foreigners; of these, nine were Italian. Added to these are the killed terrorists, the material executors of the attack, all of them from wealthy families.

Monirul Islam said that 21 people were found guilty of the massacre: the five militants killed in the police blitz; eight terrorists murdered in the following months when a real manhunt was conducted, including the one who is considered the "mastermind" of the attack; the eight radical Muslims against whom the formal accusations were presented.

The head of the anti-terrorist unit released the names of the eight suspected members of the New Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh. They are: Rakibul Islam Regan, Hadisur Rahman Sagor, Jahangir Hossain Rajeeb aka Rajeeb Gandhi, Aslam Hossain Rashed aka Rash, Abdus Sabur Khan aka Sohel Mahfuj, Mizanur Rahman aka Baro Mizan, Mamunur Rashid aka Ripon and Shariful Islam Khaled, former student of the faculty English at Rajshahi University. "The first six - added the policeman - are in prison, while the last two are on the run. [For the fugitives] we will ask for an arrest warrant ".

The official gave further details on the results of the investigation: the terrorists had been preparing the attack for at least five months and the money needed to do it - about 2 million taka (20,400 euros) - would have come from a Middle Eastern country. "The attackers - he concluded - wanted to make the nation fail and create a situation of instability. They wanted to make Bangladesh a fundamentalist country. They wanted to pressure the government."

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