Police in a predawn raid yesterday busted a secret arms training centre for madrasa students and arrested two suspected militants in a remote hilly village in Hathazari in Chittagong.
A large contingent of police, launching the raid on secret information, discovered training equipment at the centre which intelligence sources said was run by Mir Anis, cousin of a state minister and teacher of a local women’s madrasa.
Anis who worked as the director of the centre and employed two trainers for madrasa students fled under cover of dark before the police raid.
Police seized 24 wooden dummy AK-47 rifles used in training, two tents, spears, a pair of binoculars and other equipment from the training centre in Alipur, 32 kilometres north of the port city of Chittagong.
Mohammad Iskander and Enamul Huq were arrested with suspected links to Harkatul Jihad, an Islamist outfit that allegedly patronised the training centre.
“One of the arrestees was a cook and the other worked as an assistant. We are quizzing them at Hathazari Police Station to find clues,” Superintendent of Police in Chittagong Mahbubur Rahman told The Daily Star.
Apparently under pressure from political bigwigs, other police officials declined to give details on the raid.
Intelligence sources said at least 24 madrasa students in each batch trained in arms before they fanned out across the country to carry out subversive activities.
The sources quoted the arrestees as telling interrogators that Hannan with militant links was trained at the centre and has a role in the May 21 bomb blast at Hazrat Shahjalal Shrine in Sylhet.
The arrestees told presspersons that the madrasa students who arrived there were trained in Taliban style in the hilly areas, adding some trainees were to go abroad and many others went to Sylhet and Mymensingh. But police declined to comment on the issue.