17yrs of series bomb attacks: Looking back at Aug 17, 2005...

17yrs of series bomb attacks: Looking back at Aug 17, 2005

 Staff Correspondent daily-bangladesh.com

 Published: 02:32 PM, 17 August 2022   Updated: 02:57 PM, 17 August 2022

Accused of nationwide series bomb attacks; File Photo

Accused of nationwide series bomb attacks; File Photo

On August 17, 2005, the banned militant organization Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) carried out series-bomb attacks in 63 districts of the country. Today, Wednesday (August 17) marked the 17 years of the series-bomb attacks.

Two people were killed and at least 104 people were injured in this series-bomb attacks at 500 spots in the country. JMB carried out bomb attacks across the country to make their existence dominated.

159 cases were registered across the country after the series-bombings. After the investigation, the police submitted the report of all the cases in the 17 years of this incident to the court.

According to the information provided by the police headquarters, out of 159 cases of series bomb attacks nationwide — 18 in DMP, 8 in CMP, 4 in RMP, 3 in KMP, 12 in BMP, 10 in SMP, 23 in Dhaka range, 11 in Chattogram range, 7 in Rajshahi range, 23 in Khulna range, 7 in Barishal range, 16 in Sylhet range, 8 in Rangpur range, 6 in Mymensingh range, and 3 in Railway range.

From 2005 to August 17 of this year (2022), 143 cases were filed in court. In the remaining 16 cases, the final report was given as the accused could not be identified even though having the proof of the incident. Around 130 people were made accused in the case details.

A total of 961 people were arrested through various operations. 1,131 people were accused in the chargesheet. Among the accused in the chargesheet, 1,023 people were arrested. Among the accused, 322 have been sentenced to various terms. 15 people were sentenced to death. 349 people have been acquitted in these cases and 133 people are on bail.

Details of the case investigations – 

According to the investigation sources, the law and order forces started the anti-JMB operation across the country to arrest the militants after the series-bomb attacks. The operation arrested 450 militants including JMB’s top leader Shaykh Abdur Rahman, Siddique ul-Islam (Bangla Bhai), Ataur Rahman Sunny, and Khaled Saifullah. 

Top JMB leaders were hanged in 2007 in the case of killing two judges in the Jhalokati bomb attack.

Maulana Saidur Rahman became the Amir of JMB after the execution of its top leaders. The JMB began its second phase of reorganization. However, Maulana Saidur Rahman could not avoid arrest for a long time. On May 25, 2010, he was also arrested by law enforcers from Dhaka.

According to law enforcement sources, JMB “asserted its strength again” in 2014, 4 years after Saidur Rahman’s arrest. In February of that year, they abducted militants from the police prison van in Trishal, Mymensingh. During this time, death sentence accused Salahuddin Salehin alias Sunny, Rakibul Hasan alias Hafeez Mahmud and life sentence convict Zahidul Islam alias Bomaru Mizan were snatched.

Origin of JMB –

Shaykh Abdur Rahman founded JMB in 1988, however, 10 years after its establishment, the organization started its activities nationwide in 1998, but the group’s public activities began in early 2003. Later on August 17, 2005, this militant organization came into the discussion through series-bomb attacks in 63 districts of the country and the killing of two judges in Jhalokati on November 14.

After being arrested by the law enforcement forces, JMB’s Shura Committee chief Siddique ul-Islam alias Bangla Bhai, founder Shaykh Abdur Rahman, operation commander Ataur Rahman Sunny, Khaled Saifullah, and other leaders of the organization went into hiding.

In 2015, a large part of the JMB formed a new organization called “Neo JMB”. While the old JMB tried to keep the organization afloat by petty sabotage, the Neo JMB quietly worked to increase their organizational and financial strength – which was reflected on July 1, 2016, militant attack on the Holey Artisan restaurant.

20 native and foreign people were killed in the attack on the Holey Artisan restaurant. Just a week after this, on July 7, the Neo JMB launched another attack on the Sholakia Eidgah.

After these two terrorist attacks, the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) Unit of the police and the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) started searching for militant dens in different parts of the country including the capital and searching for the top leaders of the Neo JMB. In the face of their activities, the Neo JMB became “organizationally weak”. Many of the top militants were killed in the operation. Many have been caught again.