Bangladeshi security forces have arrested seven members of the banned Islamist group JMB, including a top commander from Mymensingh district bordering India amid fears that the terror outfit may be trying to regroup.
The elite Rapid Action Battalion said it arrested Mohammad Abdul Malek alias Musa, a member of the Jamaatul Islam Mujahideen Bangladesh's top decision making body (the majlish-e-shura) in Mymensingh zone, along with six other activists of the outfit.
They were identified as Ahsan Zahir Khan, Md Rafiqul Islam, Faruk Hossain, Md Shahidullah, Md Aminul Islam and Md Abdul Halim.
Mohammad Sohail, the RAB Director (Legal and Media Wing) was quoted as saying by The Daily Star newspaper that the militants were arrested while they were going to a wedding party in Fulbaria sub-division. The militants had planned to hold a secret meeting, he said.
Amid earlier warning that Islamist militants may be trying to regroup, Sohail said: They have become very weak and are trying to recruit new cadres."
Islamist militant outfits, including JMB and Harkatul Jihad Islami (HuJI), have carried out a series of terrorist attacks to establish a sharia-based Islamic state, leading to the death of hundreds of people in the last few years.
Six JMB kingpins, including its chief Shaikh Abdur Rahman and second in command Siddiqul Islam Bangla Bhai, were executed in 2007.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who survived a grenade attack on August 21, 2004 when HuJI activists hurled 13 grenades at her rally, has underlined her government's determination to root out terrorism from the country.
Bangladesh is planning to engage nearly 60 lakh irregular para-police 'Ansar' men in the anti-militancy campaign as part of an intensified vigil on right-wing Islamist outfits.
"On the Prime Minister's directive, a process is now underway to make rules specifying the duties and jurisdictions of Ansar and VDP (Village Defence Party)," Home Minister Sahara Khatun earlier said.
Hasina has looked beyond her borders to tackle the terror menace by floating the idea of a regional mechanism involving all states in South Asia.
According to earlier reports, Pakistan-based militant groups like LeT, Harkat-ul Mujahideen, JeM and HuJI are among 15 foreign terror groups active or are still operating in Bangladesh since 1991 using the country as a safe shelter or transit to infiltrate India.