The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested a Myanmar national allegedly trained by a Pakistani terror group in connection with last month’s Burdwan blast, pointing to an extensive terror network in South Asia, officials said on Tuesday.
Khalid Mohammad, 28, who was held in Hyderabad, was carrying ISIS jihadist literature and was apparently running terror camps along the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, sources said.
“This arrest points at a network which is breeding in West Bengal where jihadis working against Bangladesh and Myanmar government are collaborating,” said an NIA official. “Khalid is a vital link between terror organisations in Bangladesh and Myanmar working from the soil of Bengal and even other parts of the country.”
The October 2 explosion in West Bengal’s Burdwan district, in which two operatives of the militant outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were killed while making bombs in a house, exposed a widespread web of terror in the state.
The NIA is now likely to investigate whether the explosives being assembled in Burdwan were to be moved to Myanmar where Rohingya Muslims are locked in a bitter fight with parts of the Buddhist-majority population.
Clashes and riots have forced numerous Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh and from there many have migrated to West Bengal over the past two years, sources said.
Over a hundred such illegal immigrants were arrested by the BSF at the Bengal-Bangladesh border in 2013. Many others were picked up by state police.
An NIA team is in Bangladesh regarding investigations into the Burdwan blast as the case is believed to have wider security ramifications for the two countries.
Khalid is apparently an expert in manufacturing Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) as well as recruitment and was helping the JMB organise terror modules in India, sources said.
“He has admitted to having undergone training conducted by Tehreek-e-Azadi-Arakan with trainers from Tehreek-e-Taliban, Pakistan,” an NIA official said.
He was residing in Hyderabad after faking his identity and was found to be without valid travel documents.
Khalid will be produced in court and is likely to be moved to Kolkata, sources said. He is the ninth person to be arrested in connection with the Burdwan blast.