Wednesday June 19, 2019
Home Uncategorized Islamic State...

Islamic State of Bangladesh: An emerging Reality

Islamic State of Bangladesh reportedly came into being in March 2016

0
//
Singaporean officials released a photo gallery of eight suspected Muslim radicals from Bangladesh, May 3, 2016. Courtesy of Singaporean Ministry of Home Affairs

April 3,2016: Singaporean authorities said Tuesday they had arrested “eight radicalized Bangladeshi nationals” who were part of a group plotting terror attacks back home and calling itself the Islamic State in Bangladesh (ISB).

The eight Bangladeshis who worked in Singapore’s construction and marine industries were arrested in April and were being held under the island-state’s Internal Security Act, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced in a news release.

ISB was set up in March 2016 by one of the eight suspects, identified as 31-year-old Rahman Mizanur, and the group was plotting attacks in Bangladesh including targeting government and military officials for assassination, the MHA said.

“The ISB members had intended to join the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as foreign fighters,” the Singaporean ministry said, using another name for Islamic State (IS).

Also read: ISIS eyes the land of Tagore and Nazrul,ie, Bangladesh

“However, as they felt that it would be difficult for them to make their way to Syria, they focused their plans instead on returning to Bangladesh to overthrow the democratically elected government through the use of force, establish an Islamic state in Bangladesh and bring it under ISIS’ self-declared caliphate.”

The arrests of the eight suspects came more than three months after Singapore announced it had arrested 27 Bangladeshis late last year on suspicion of links to al-Qaeda and IS, and deported 26 of them.

Officials in Bangladesh have consistently denied that IS has a presence in their country, where secular writers, religious minorities, foreigners, intellectuals and gay rights activists have been killed since last year in machete-attacks by suspected Islamic radicals. Such attacks have escalated sharply in recent weeks.

Plans for recruitment, growth

According to Singaporean officials, at least two more members of ISB were in Bangladesh, and investigators also seized a document from Mizanur, titled “We Need to Fight for Jihad,” along with documents on weapons and bomb making as well as propaganda materials from al-Qaeda and IS.

“The ISB members planned to recruit other Bangladeshi nationals working in Singapore to grow the group. The group had also raised money to purchase firearms to carry out their planned terror attacks in Bangladesh,” MHA officials said, noting that Singaporean authorities had since seized the cash.

In March, Singapore announced that it was beefing up security and counter-terrorism measures to protect the city-state from a threat posed by IS’s rising influence in Southeast Asia.

“ISB poses a security concern to Singapore because of its support for ISIS and its readiness to resort to the use of violence overseas,” the MHA said.

The ministry noted that another five Bangladeshi workers who were investigated under the Internal Security Act for possible links to Islamic State Bangladesh were sent home.

“Investigations showed that they were not involved in ISB but nevertheless possessed and/or proliferated jihadi-related materials, or supported the use of armed violence in pursuit of a religious cause,” the ministry said.

In Dhaka on Tuesday, Bangladesh’s police chief acknowledged that five Bangladeshis had been expelled from Singapore, but he did not say when they were sent home.

“They are in the custody of the detective branch, and we will question them extensively about their links with the militant groups. We have cooperation with Singapore on counter terrorism issues,” Police Inspector-General A.K.M. Shahidul Haque told BenarNews. (BenarNews)

Next Story

Bangladesh Turns to Fill Ever-Growing Gap Between Energy Consumption and Supply by FDI

With 95% of the population now having access to electricity, Bangladesh is focusing on increasing its use of renewable energy as climate and other environmental concerns are growing across the globe

0
energy industry, bangladesh
A Bangladeshi man works on the tangled electric cables hanging above a street in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Dec. 12, 2017. VOA

Bangladesh has long struggled with power outages, with the nation experiencing its worst electricity crises in 2008 and 2009. Reports said one blackout, in 2014, affected as many as 100 million people — more than 60% of the population.

With a growing economy and a large population, the country always runs the risk of hampering its development process, which could cause instability. To counteract this, Bangladesh has turned to courting foreign direct investment to fill its ever-growing gap between energy consumption and supply. Companies from Britain, China, India and the United States have invested in the energy industry in Bangladesh.

With 95% of the population now having access to electricity, Bangladesh is focusing on increasing its use of renewable energy as climate and other environmental concerns are growing across the globe.

In an exclusive interview with VOA, Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, energy adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, talks about how a developing country like Bangladesh is taking initiatives to bring power to the entire population by 2021 that will include an increase in green energy alternatives.

energy industry, bangladesh
Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali, left, shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi before a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing Friday, June 29, 2018. VOA

VOA: In your address during during Bangladesh Energy and Power Summit 2018, you said investment and development of innovative technologies are the two major issues that need to be given more priority to meet the power generation targets. What steps have you taken so far to achieve this?

Chowdhury: Since 2009, we have mobilized $20 billion of investment in the power sector projects, which has been approved and are being implemented. Half of this $20 billion investment will come from the private sector. We are encouraging foreign private investors to come and invest in the power sector.

Moving away from a policy of relying on domestic investment or investments from multilateral agencies like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, our government went out to the market and involved the private sector, in particular the foreign companies who have made bids for various power projects, to raise funds on their own.

In terms of development of innovative technologies, we have established the Bangladesh Energy and Power Research Council to develop technological solutions, which are environmentally friendly. The council also aims to promote research and innovation in sustainable renewable energy.

VOA: As of 2018, Bangladesh had a capacity of generating power of 18,000 megawatts and your goal is to generate 60,000 megawatts by 2041. But how much of this 60,000 would be renewable energy?

Chowdhury: I would say 10% is a good target. We are building a nuclear power plant with 1,200 megawatts of electricity generation capacity that can be upgraded to generating up to 2,400 megawatts.

energy industry, bangladesh
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses the India Ideas Summit in Washington, D.C., June 12, 2019. VOA

We are also exploring possibilities of using wind energy turbines in five or six areas of the country, and invited proposals from interested companies.

We have the largest [coverage of] solar home systems in the world, [amounting to] over 6 million homes. Multiply this [by] five [members] in each home, and you have 30 million people who have access to renewable energy via solar home systems.

These are stand-alone solar home systems, small solar panels for individual households, not connected to a national grid. So they have their limitations, and I think we have reached as far as we can go through this route.

We are exploring the possibilities of connecting our national grid to national grids of other South Asian countries like India, Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal. … Nepal and Bhutan have great potential in developing hydropower projects that would produce renewable energy in enormous quantity that can be imported to Bangladesh by connecting our national grids with the national grids of India, Nepal and Bhutan.

VOA: In an interview with Voice of America, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. M.A. Momen said that in his recent meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mr. [Mike] Pompeo, the U.S. investment or the U.S.-Bangladesh partnership in exploration [of hydrocarbon reserves in offshore blocks] did come up, so where are we on that?

Chowdhury: U.S. companies have shown interest in investing in new explorations. Mobil came to us and showed their interest in both upstream and downstream hydrocarbon industry. We will invite them to come and discuss with us the possibility of exploration of deep sea [hydrocarbon reserves].

VOA: Are there any other areas in the energy sector where U.S. investment or U.S.-Bangladesh partnership is possible?

energy industry, bangladesh
FILE – The logo of General Electric is pictured at the 26th World Gas Conference in Paris, France, June 2, 2015. VOA

Chowdhury: Recently, we have signed a memorandum of understanding with General Electric and its local partner to provide over 2,000 megawatts of electricity. And we have signed a contract with Summit Power and GE to build a 583-megawatt power plant. So the U.S. companies are showing a lot of interest. We are hoping that they will bring state-of-the-art technology.

Chowdhury: U.S. companies have shown interest in investing in new explorations. Mobil came to us and showed their interest in both upstream and downstream hydrocarbon industry. We will invite them to come and discuss with us the possibility of exploration of deep sea [hydrocarbon reserves].

ALSO READ: Trump Administration Commits to Make Fossil Fuels Cleaner, Says Energy Secretary

VOA: Are there any other areas in the energy sector where U.S. investment or U.S.-Bangladesh partnership is possible?

Chowdhury: Recently, we have signed a memorandum of understanding with General Electric and its local partner to provide over 2,000 megawatts of electricity. And we have signed a contract with Summit Power and GE to build a 583-megawatt power plant. So the U.S. companies are showing a lot of interest. We are hoping that they will bring state-of-the-art technology. (VOA)