Dead militant came from posh area, studied at Monash KL

A picture released by the Bangladesh Branch of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) shows Nibras Islam posing with a rifle in front of the ISIS flag at an undisclosed location.
A picture released by the Bangladesh Branch of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) shows Nibras Islam posing with a rifle in front of the ISIS flag at an undisclosed location.PHOTO: AFP

DHAKA • One of the three militants killed by Bangladeshi security forces in connection with July's Dhaka cafe attack came from a posh area of the city like some of the attackers and went to a prestigious foreign university, the police have said.

Towsif Hossain was from Dhaka's leafy Dhanmondi neighbourhood and had been missing since February.

Like Nibras Islam, one of the five young and affluent cafe attackers who were killed after a 12-hour siege on July 2, Hossain had attended the Kuala Lumpur campus of Australia's prestigious Monash University, the head of the Dhaka police counter-terrorism unit told reporters yesterday.

Another militant killed last Saturday morning was Fazle Rabbi from the Jessore district north- west of Dhaka, who had been missing since last April, counter- terrorism head Monirul Islam said. Rabbi's family has fled, the police said.

The identity of suspected mastermind Tamim Chowdhury was confirmed last Saturday.

The cafe attack alarmed security and political experts because of the profile of the perpetrators: educated youths from privileged backgrounds who had turned to radical Islamism only recently.

Both Hossain and Rabbi were around 25, the police said.

The Malaysian police said last month that at least two of the militants behind the cafe attack had attended Monash, although they did not name them.

The police have also detained two men who had been among the survivors of the attack.

Mr Hasnat Karim, who holds dual British and Bangladeshi citizenship, and Mr Tahmid Hasib Khan, a student of Toronto University and a Canadian permanent resident, had been dining separately in the restaurant.

A lawyer for Mr Karim, a 47- year-old engineer, has said his client is innocent. Relatives of Mr Khan, 22, say he is innocent too.

Global Affairs Canada said officials are in contact with their Bangladeshi counterparts about the matter, but the assistance they can offer is limited as Mr Khan is not a citizen.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2016, with the headline 'Dead militant came from posh area, studied at Monash KL'. Print Edition | Subscribe