Islamist plot to blow up Bangladesh’s navy bases unearthed

Dhaka: Bangladeshi intelligence agencies have unearthed an Islamist plot to blow up over 100 navy and coastguard bases and oil refineries in southeastern port city of Chittagong, a media report said on Sunday.

A lesser-known outfit called Hilful Fuzul al Islami planned to carry out gas bomb explosions in collaboration with several other banned Islamist groups in retaliation to an escalated security clampdown against the militants, according to the ‘Samokal’, a mass circulation newspaper.

“They have targeted more than 100 government and non- government installations on both the sides of the Chittagong Port Channel where the Coastguard’s West Zone Base, Kaptai’s BNS (Navy) Moazzem Base, BNS Isha Khan are located,” said the report, quoting unidentified intelligence sources.

It added that the Hilful Fuzul also hatched plots to carryout sabotages at the main depots of four refineries in the port city.

When asked to comment on the report, a spokesman of elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) told PTI that “we are aware of the report which you are referring to.

“It (Hilful Fuzul) is a little-known outfit… but we are investigating into the suspected plot,” RAB’s spokesman Major Maksud Alam said without elaboration.

Another security official, who requested anonymity, seemed to downplay the report, saying militant outfits currently were in a dilapidated state due to the intensified anti-militancy clampdown.

“Their previous attempts to regroup and forge unity failed also largely because of their ideological differences,” he said.

Media reports earlier said Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), which claimed to an affiliate of Al-Qaeda’s Indian Subcontinent chapter and believed to have killed a number of secular bloggers dubbing them as “atheists” in recent months, previously failed to unite the Islamist outfits despite efforts by its chief Jashimuddin Rahmani.

Sunday’s report came as banned Hizbut Tahrir staged an online conference on Friday after mobilising participation by pasting posters on passenger buses and walls evading eyes of police and security agencies.