Counter Terrorism Perspectives: CTP

TM: Jamaatul Ansar: A Terrorism Threat in Bangladesh Before the 2024 Elections?

June 28, 2023

In mid-2022, Bangladeshi police stumbled upon a burgeoning Islamist militant conglomerate called Jamaatul-Ansar-fil-Hindal Sharqiya (Assembly of the Helpers in the East of India, or “Jamaatul Ansar”) while investigating youth disappearances in the country. More than 50 youths have reportedly left their homes to join Islamist groups under the pretext of religious migration (hijra) in the last two years (Parthom Alo, September 25, 2022). Bangladeshi police arrested 12 such youths in October 2022, after they joined Jamaatul Ansar to wage jihad against Bangladesh. Jamaatul Ansar’s forces were active in the Jatrabari and Keraniganj areas in Dhaka, as well as other secret hideouts in the districts of Munshiganj, Narayanganj, and Mymensingh.

As of May 2023, Bangladeshi police have arrested nearly 75 members of Jamaatul Ansar from different areas of the country. They also have unearthed details about the reasons behind the youths’ disappearances. Jamaatul Ansar is currently regrouping with the aim of establishing an Islamic state in Bangladesh.

Jamaatul Ansar’s Emergence

In January and February 2023, several propaganda videos obtained by the police portrayed Jamaatul Ansar’s operational and organizational activities; this included images of the group’s top leaders and training camps in the remote, hilly areas of Bandarban and Rangamati. Visuals of Jamaatul Ansar militants in camouflage fatigue undergoing physical and arms training in the Chittagong Hill Tracts also attracted the interest of Bangladesh’s security forces. Based on these videos, confessions from arrested militants, and other documents recovered from Jamaatul Ansar hideouts, the police concluded that the group poses a more significant security threat than any other militant group in the country (Daily Sun, January 24).

For complete article, read here: "Jamaatul Ansar: A Terrorism Threat in Bangladesh Before the 2024 Elections?", Terrorism Monitor (Jamestown Foundation), Volume 21 (13), June 26, 2023.