Dhaka – The Bangladeshi man deported from Malaysia over terrorist links had meetings with one of the Islamist militants who carried out the deadly attack on a restaurant in Dhaka, media report said on Friday.
The 37-year-old businessman, who was deported from Malaysia, earlier this month, used his restaurant in Bukit Bintang to meet with the terrorist, Andaleeb Ahmed, who was involved in the attack on Holey Artisan bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan diplomatic zone on July 1.
The terrorists took the restaurant guests hostage and killed twenty civilians, mostly foreign nationals, and the army commandos stormed the cafe to gun the militants down in the following morning.
Malaysian newspaper The Star reported that the suspect deported in the South-Asian country met the terrorist two months ago.
“The authorities believe that the suspect was planning attacks in his home country. He even had regular meetings with many of his countrymen,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying.
The source added that the suspect was also responsible for smuggling AK-47 rifles into Bangladesh.
Andaleeb was linked to Monash University in Malaysia, having been in the country from 2012 to 2015 and later in Istanbul.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the businessman was among four men arrested by the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division between Aug 2 and Sept 17.
“The (Bangladeshi) suspect was arrested on Aug 19. He was placed in Interpol’s Red Notice and was deported on Sept 2,” Khalid said in a statement.
Three others arrested in the special operation included a 38-year-old Nepalese businessman, a 26-year-old Moroccan man and a 34-year-old Malaysian man.
“The Nepalese was arrested on Aug 19 and deported on Sept 2,” the police chief said.
“We discovered that he ran entertainment outlets and a hotel.
“We believe he was responsible for falsifying documents to facilitate the travel of terrorists,” he said.
It is learnt that the suspect charged between RM250 and RM1,300 (S$82 – S$428) for his services in arranging the travels of Nepalese citizens to return to their home country, reported the paper.
The Moroccan man was previously arrested by Turkish authorities for trying to enter Syria. “After his release, he managed to find his way into Malaysia in May,” said the police chief. The suspect, he said, was arrested on Aug 2 and deported on Sept 21.
The IGP said the fourth suspect – the Malaysian – worked as a driver for a businessman and had links with militant Mohamad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi.
It is believed that the businessman whom the suspect worked for ran a car import business in Port Klang.
“He has been involved in IS since 2014,” a source said.