December 4, 2015 / 4:12 PM / 2 years ago

Bangladesh police arrest 10 on suspicion of militant activity

DHAKA (Reuters) - Security forces in Bangladesh arrested six people on Friday on suspicion of human trafficking and currency smuggling and possible involvement in militant activity, a spokesman for the special forces Rapid Action Battalion said.

One Pakistani national was among the men detained at different locations in the capital Dhaka, Mufti Mahmud Khan told Reuters. Some 10 million counterfeit Indian rupees and 624,000 Bangladeshi taka ($8,000) were also found, along with large amounts of foreign currency including U.S. dollars, Pakistani rupees, UAE dirhams and Saudi riyals.

“We are investigating whether they were mobilizing funds for militant activities in Bangladesh and or planning to carry out destructive action in the country,” said Khan. “We will be able to confirm only after completion of interrogation.”

Authorities also found 21 passports and a large number of fake document stamps, he said.

In a separate case, the detective and criminal intelligence division of the Bangladesh police (DCIDB) arrested three Pakistani nationals and one Bihari man from Bangladesh on Monday on suspicion of involvement in militant activity.

Biharis are among the Urdu-speaking groups known as “stranded Pakistanis” who settled in what is now Bangladesh after India was partitioned.

DCIDB spokesman Muntashirul Islam told Reuters that the men were members of a banned group, Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), and had planned to sabotage key installations and carry out targeted killings aimed at destabilizing the government.

“They were arrested on charges of spying, conspiracy to commit murder and acts of terror and other crimes,” he said.

Police named the suspects as Idris Sheikh, Mokbul Sharif, Mohammad Salam and Mohammad Mostafa and said they had recovered five mobile phones, 26 jihadist books, three Bangladeshi passports, 4,000 Pakistani rupees and other currencies.

Police said evidence found on Sheikh’s phone suggested he had been spying for a foreign government. They alleged that Sharif had been in contact with Abdul Kuddus Bormi, a leader of Rohingya militants based in Karachi, and had been implicated in passport fraud and human trafficking.

Reporting by Serajul Quadir; Editing by Catherine Evans

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