DHAKA (Reuters) - An IT manager at a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Co was one of two men arrested in Bangladesh on suspicion of planning to fight for Islamic State in Syria, police and company sources said on Monday.
The pair were detained during a raid in the capital Dhaka on Sunday night, said Sheikh Nazmul Alam, a senior official of the police detective branch.
One man, Aminul Islam, was the information technology head of a multinational company, and worked as a regional coordinator for Islamic State, while the other, Sakib Bin Kamal, was a teacher at a school in Dhaka, he added.
A police official and a company source told Reuters that Islam worked at International Beverages Private Ltd, a Coca-Cola unit. The company source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, confirmed the arrested man was the head of IT, and said he had been absent from work for several days.
In a statement, the subsidiary said it was aware of media reports that the employee, whom it named as Aminul Islam Baig, had been arrested. “We will fully cooperate with the law enforcement agencies as required,” it said.
Police official Alam said the suspects had confessed to having persuaded at least 25 students to join IS, the militant group that has captured large parts of Syria and Iraq.
At least 12 people have been arrested in Bangladesh in recent months for suspected involvement with IS, and reports of its growing influence have raised fears across South Asia.
It remains unclear whether militants organizing under its name are acting on their own or as part of a centralized initiative from the Middle East.
Bangladesh, whose population is around 90 percent Muslim, is already on alert after three secular bloggers including a U.S. citizen, Avijit Roy, were killed by radical Islamists since February.
In a separate development on Monday, the interior ministry banned Ansarullah Bangla Team, a group which has claimed responsibility for the killings, as an extremist militant organization.
Editing by Mark Trevelyan