Friends ‘thunderstruck’ as Bangladesh meets the changing face of terrorism

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 04, 2016 14:11 IST
22-year-old Nibras Islam, one of the attackers involved in the Dhaka cafe massacre.

One of the attackers who butchered 20 hostages at an upmarket Dhaka restaurant studied at one of the city’s best schools and a top foreign university while another is the son of a prominent ruling party leader, Bangladesh media reported on Monday.

Focus concentrated on 22-year-old Nibras Islam, whose photos from Facebook were splashed across newspapers.

Anandabazar Patrika, a prominent Bengali daily from Kolkata, said Islam studied at Malaysia’s Monash University and was missing since January.

The newspaper said his friends were “thunderstruck” when agencies released his name as one of the six attackers, with many saying they couldn’t believe a “handsome” man who used to dress sharp and be enthusiastic about going out and movies gunned down people.

Read | Dhaka cafe massacre: As Bangladesh mourns, a fallen hero is hailed

Dhaka daily Prothom Alo reported he studied at the prestigious North South University before moving to Malaysia.

In a video clip posted in Facebook on June 8 last year, Nibras was seen shaking hands with Indian actress Shraddha Kapoor, said a detective.

“Shraddha Kapoor you beauty!! The moment she holds my hand,” read the text accompanying the video.

Nibras snapped contacts with friends in Bangladesh after moving to Malaysia to attend Monash and became religious soon after, Daily Star said.

Photographs of the other four attackers who killed 20 hostages in a Dhaka cafe were released by the SITE Intelligence Group but the names declared did not correspond with the images.

English newspaper Daily Star named another attacker as Rohan Imtiaz, the son of Imtiaz Khan Babul, a former youth and sports secretary of Dhaka City Awami League. Rohan went missing on December 30.

“When he went missing, we went to the police, Rapid Action Battalion and even the home ministry but got no response. We only want to know one thing, why couldn’t they find my son?” Prothom Alo quoted Rohan’s mother as saying.

He studied at Scholastica School, a leading English-medium school in the city and then went to BRAC University.

“He was a good boy. He said his prayers regularly, he was very well-behaved,” Nuru Mia, caretaker of the building where Rohan lived, told the Dhaka Tribune.

Read | Dhaka attackers spared hostages who could recite Quran verses: Survivor

Another attacker was named as Meer Saameh Mubasser who was missing since February. He also studied from Scholastica School and was preparing for his A-level examinations, reported Prothom Alo. His father is a high-level government official and mother a professor.

“Our son had difficulty in comprehending things. We think he is under the influence of others,” Prothom Alo quoted his father as saying.

Prothom Alo identified 20-year-old Khairul Islam as the likely leader of the militant group. He was the son of a day labourer and had two sisters. He was different from the other attackers because he hailed from an impoverished background and studied at a madrassa, Daily Star reported.

“He came home a couple of months ago and then went missing,” Prothom Alo quoted his mother as saying. “We could contact him never again.”

Edited by Dhrubo Jyoti

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