Youths joined militancy, citing various reasons to leave home

A screen grab from a video shows Jama'atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya military commander Shibbir Ahmed alias Hamid Karche wielding a firearm while Milon Talukdar (first from left), Saleh Ahmed (second from left) and Md Didar (right) are also seen.

The youth who joined training in the militant hideout in Bandarban had left their homes years or months ago. Some disappeared four years ago while some six months ago. They left home showing various reasons to their families while some went hiding without mentioning any reason. 

Their relatives claimed they did not have any idea about their involvement in militancy. While some families filed general diaries (GD) about the their going missing, many families hid the information.  Prothom Alo’s district and upazila correspondents talked with relatives and acquaintances of 41 missing persons of 17 districts. Most of the ‘missing’ persons are members of lower-middle class families and some of them are very poor.

Locals said these persons were known as calm and quiet. Many locals were taken aback after some of them were seen taking arms training in the hills at a recently published video. Father of Cumilla’s college student Al-Amin, who was killed during training in militant hideout, sought punishment of those who took his son to militancy. He also filed a case in the court.

The law enforcers maintain that these persons left home to join a new militant organization named ‘Jamatul Ansar Fil Sharqiya’. At least 50 of them took training at Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) camp in Chattogram Hill Tracts (CHT) in last one year. Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) with assistance of law enforcers started raid at KNF training camp since last October. Many were arrested during the raid.  

Shibbir was a madrasa teacher

In the video footage, Jamatul Ansar’s supposed military commander Shibbir Ahmed is seen standing in a mountain hideout with arms. He is from Uttar Faridpur village in Sylhet’s South Surma. He used to teach in a madrasah in Sylhet. He left the house in 2021 taking some money from his father and his own savings saying that he would go abroad. After that, the family did not find any trace of him. Shibbir’s father Abdus Salam told Prothom Alo on Thursday, “We thought he is abroad and can’t contact us as he is busy. I became speechless seeing my son in militant outfit in the video on Wednesday.” 

Hurayra left home for ‘studies’

Abu Huraira is from Bararia village of Mohammadpur thana in Magura. His mother Poly Begum told Prothom Alo that Huraira went to study at a madrasa called Zamanul Qur'an in Sutrapur, Dhaka after finishing Hefz studies (Qur’an memorization) at a local madrasa. He returned home as the madrasa get closed due to Coronavirus pandemic. In November 2021, he left home again saying that he would go to that madrasa. Huraira also said he would go to India to study from that madrasa. But Poly Begum lost contact with her son once he reached in Dhaka. She said, “My son was quiet and gentle. I had belief that he was on the path of Allah and would return. For this reason, I did not report to the police.”

Upon talking with some people of the area including Balidia union’s member Shahid Molla, it was learnt that Huraira is known as a gentle boy in the area and would teach Taraweeh prayers in the mosque of the area during the month of Ramadan.

Al-Amin was a teacher

Al-Amin Sarder was a student of honours at Government Tolaram College in Narayanganj. Before completing studies, he had gone to Dubai three years ago and returned home a year and a half ago. According to his family, Al-Amin suddenly disappeared six months after returning home. However, the family members did not report it to the police.

Al-Amin's mother Rehana Begum told Prothom Alo that her son would pray five times a day. He used to go to Tabligh Jamaat. That’s why they thought Al-Amin had gone to Tabligh went he went missing.

Neighbors said Al-Amin was very pious and well behaved. He would always walk with his head down.

However, the RAB at a press conference last Wednesday said that Al-Amin is one of the militants trained in the remote hills of Bandarban. He used to teach students and inspired some students to militancy. Among them is a class 10 student at BM Union High School of Narayanganj's Bandar thana. The 15-year-old boy disappeared on 15 March last year. Later his father filed a GD reporting about his disappearance.

Talking to Prothom Alo, this teenager's mother asked what her 15-year-old son understands about militancy.

She said her son disappeared after Al-Amin went missing.  

Milon Talukdar is father of five

Moshiur Rahman alias Milon Talukder, 38, is son of deceased Kadam Ali of Nachanmahal village in Nalchiti upazila of Jhalakathi. Milan, who passed Dakhil from Alia madrasa, has four daughters and a son. He lived mostly with his family in Dhaka’s Keraniganj. Before disappearing, Milan went to the village with his family.

Milon's wife Sumaiya told Prothom Alo that he left the house saying that he was going to work setting up Thai aluminum in a building in Dhaka. On 25 March 2021, a month after the disappearance, Milon's brother Russell Talukder filed a GD at Nalchiti police station. Shah Alam, a UP member of ward no. 4 of Nachanmahal union, said Milon Talukdar was a quiet and calm person.

Habibur Rahman, 22, son of Abu Yusuf of Baukathi Kaliandar village in Jhalkathi Sadar, went missing on 25 March 2021 from Hosainia Madrasa in Barishal’s Nathullabad. Alongside studying, Habibur would also serve as a muazzin in a mosque.

His father Abu Yusuf said, "I searched for him in hospital, jail and different other places after he went missing. Now I have given up his hope.”

Anisur worked at a filling station

Anisur is the son of Mokhleshur Rahman and Rafia Khatun of Pratappur village in ward no. 2 of Chowara Union of Cumilla Sadar Dakshin upazila. He completed hefz from Dayapur Madrasa and got a job at an advanced CNG filling station near the madrasa. Family sources said he had been missing for over a year. Anisur is said to have two wives.

His brother Saiful Islam claimed that Anisur left home selling all the assets and properties. No one knows where he is now.

Meanwhile, RAB says that this Anisur Rahman alias Mahmud of Cumilla is the amir of the new militant organisation Jamaatul Ansar fil Sharqiya. Anisur was seen at the beginning of the video of the training of the militants.

According to RAB sources, after selling the properties and paying off loans, Anisur bought land in Naikhongchhari of Bandarban with the remaining money. He is in hiding after raid started in the mountains.

Didar left home four years ago

Md Didar, 26, of Cumilla was seen in the recently published video footage of training. Son of Abdur Rahim of Niyalbagh village in Sadar Dakkhin upazila, Didar left home four years ago.

Abdur Rahim told Prothom Alo, “My son would pray five times a day. I can’t take it that he a member of militant gang.”  

  Imran Hossain is father of two daughters


Imran Hossain alias Imran, 25, is son of deceased Azizul Haque of Chhoto Baburtala village under Laksam upazila in Cumilla. He left home two years ago leaving behind wife and two daughters. He did not make any contact with the family later. Since he was the bread winner, the family has been left in dire straits.

Najmul went missing two years ago  

Najmul Alam Nahid did not return home after going to prayer two years ago. He is from Joydebpur village under Bayek union of Brahmanbaria’s Kasba upazila. Nahid’s father Fayez Ahammad alias Bablu Mia used to work as office assistant Upazila Nirbahi Officer’s (UNO) office. He went to retirement two years ago.

“My son was so good. He was better than other guys in praying and fasting. I did not get any information on my son and don’t know if he is alive or not,” said Faiz Ahmed.  

Bashar is the eldest among the missing persons

Abul Bashar, 50, from ward no. 3 of Rajoir pourashava has been missing for one and a half years. He would teach madrasa students and do farming. Bashar’s wife Sayeda Begum lives in her paternal home Muksudpur in Gopalganj along with five children. Sayeda said Bashar said he is going to join a work in Dhaka one and a half years ago and left home. Since then, he did not communicate with the family.

Obaidullah went missing from a madrasa in Jatrabari

Obaidullah has been missing for last six months. He is from ward no. 6 of Mahipur union in Patuakhali. His father Ismail Hossain Hawlader told Prothom Alo that his son would study a  Al Islamia Darul Ulum Kutubkhana madrasa in Dhaka’s Jatrabari. Obaidullah called his mother in last July and informed her about going to Tabligh for seven days. No trace of him was found since then. 

RAB arrested Nizam Uddin alias Hiron, 30, of Mokillya village of Noakhali’s Sonaimuri, from Bandarban’s Rowangchhari upazila. He is designer of wooden furniture. Nizam studied up to Class VI, said his father Abdul Kuddus. He went to Oman in 2013 and returned in 2019. He then took a job in a furniture shop. Nizam left the house on 25 September in 2021. 

Partha joined militancy after converting to Islam

In 2016, Partha Das of Khulna went to Dhaka seeking job when he was an eighth grade. He took job as a security guard of a house at Mirpur 14. At the end of that year, Partha informed his family that he had converted to Islam. He took name of Al-Amin. He is from Hrishipara area of Magurghona union in Khulna’s Dumuria upazila. His father Manik Das, a carpenter by profession, told Prothom Alo that Partha came home once at the middle of 2019. He does not have any contact with the family since then.

 Families of the disappeared persons said they cannot fathom what to do in most of the cases. They fear the whole family might be affected if they resort to law enforcers.  

Bangladesh Institute and Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) president Major General (retd) ANM Muniruzzaman told Prothom Alo that the government does not have any strategy for this as of now. The anti-militancy campaign in the country is not holistic rather it is limited to raids by RAB and police. Not only law enforcers, the family, society and state—all have their own responsibility in the fight against militancy, a practice that is not present here in our country.

He suggested that a national strategic policy be drawn up over the matter.