Ex-cadets in Bangladesh illusioned by ISIS

Special Correspondent

On February 3, 2017 Dhaka’s leading daily published a front page article contributed by Zayadul Ahsan, Editor, DBC News and a militancy expert giving detailed information of several ex-cadets from various cadet colleges in the country joining Islamic State, being illusioned by the radical Islamic terrorist group.

The article titled – Dhaka-Syria-Dhaka details the story of Gazi Kamrus Salam Sohan, an electrical and electronics engineer, and an ex-cadet, who went to Syria in December 2014 and joined Islamic State as a fighter.

Sohan got connected to ISIS in January 2014 after joining a Facebook group ‘Ex Cadets Islamic Learning Forum’, whose admin was Saifullah Ozaki, a Bangladeshi expatriate in Japan. One of the key members of the forum was Aminul Islam Beg, an ex-student of a cadet college in southern Bangladesh, who graduated in computer science and engineering from a Malaysian University and later became the head of the IT department of a multinational company.

In February 2014, Sohan met Aminul in a mosque in Dhaka’s Dhanmondi area and discussed about joining ISIS. Aminul gave Sohan Japanese phone number of Ozaki (a handler of ISIS) and said, Ozaki would send Sohan a Facebook friend request and talk to him.

This way, Sohan got connected to Ozaki (also an ex-student of a cadet college in the northeast of Bangladesh).

Ozaki came to Bangladesh in mid 2014 and met Sohan (and other recruits for ISIS) from the country. He told Sohan that he will help him getting a visa for Japan as a visa for Turkey is not required if anyone has it for Japan. Sohan subsequently got Japanese visa with documents sent by Ozaki and visited Japan and Malaysia. While in Japan, Sohan met Ozaki and was asked to start for Turkey on December 9, 2014.

On December 9, 2014 Sohan boarded on a Turkey-bound airlines from Bangladesh, and met Ozaki in Hatay, a province in southern Turkey bordering Syria. Three days later, Ozaki and another handler of ISIS named Abu bara in Turkey handed six Turkish phone number and a bus ticket for Gaziantep, a city in the western part of Turkey’s southeastern Anatolia region, some 97 km north of Aleppo.

After joining ISIS and staying in various areas such as Manbij, Raqqa etc, on April 26, Sohan married the ex-wife of Mustafizur Rahman Sifat (a classmate at the cadet college) via Skype.

On May 8, Sohan ‘sought his passport for two days from the border admin office of ISIS’ but his request was ‘turned-down’. Three days later, he sought his passport for three hours and received it on the next day.

Sohan claimed to have fled from ISIS being ‘disillusioned’. He returned to Bangladesh, went back to his old workplace-Dhaka Electricity Supply Company and was residence.

He now is in prison. Although Sohan claims to have left ISIS being disillusioned, counterrorism experts to Weekly Blitz, it most possibly is false. Because, the very description of Sohan’s getting his passport returned from ISIS is dubious.

Experts say, Sohan might have returned to Bangladesh, but he actually had either planned to be in Turkey and receive his newly wedded wife from Bangladesh and go back to ISIS, or at the instruction of Ozaki, he might had planned returning to Bangladesh and fly-back to Turkey with more recruits.

It could even be possible that Sohan was assigned by ISIS to recruit many skilled professionals like him with ex-cadet background.