Two yrs on, Bangladesh police charge 8 over Dhaka cafe attack
Dhaka, Jul 23: Police in Bangladesh have pressed charges against eight militants over the 2016 Dhaka cafe attack that killed 20 people, including an Indian girl, the worst terror attack in the country's history.
The chargesheet was placed before a Dhaka court this morning, more than two years after the gruesome attack on the Gulshan's Holey Artisan Bakery (cafe) in Dhaka's posh diplomatic area, claimed by the Islamic State terror group.
The delay in filing the chargesheet was attributed to the "complexities in obtaining information" as those "involved directly with the operation were killed on the spot," The Daily star quoted chief of Bangladesh's Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit Monirul Islam as saying.
Police, however, claimed that the homegrown terror group Neo-Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (Neo-JMB), which is close to the ISIS, was behind the attack.
Monirul said that police have pressed charges against eight militants over the attack, where 20 people, mostly foreigners, were killed after being taken as hostages.
He added that the six militants who directly carried out the attack were killed at the scene in the subsequent military assault while 13 others involved were later killed in different security clampdowns.
Prof Hasnat Karim, a former teacher of North South University was dropped from the chargesheet as "investigation could not relate him with the militant activity", he said.
The charges brought against the accused are based on 75 pieces of evidence and 211 witnesses to the incident.
Those made accused are: "Neo-Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh" operatives Rakibul Islam Regan, Hadisur Rahman Sagor, Jahangir Hossain Rajeeb alias Rajeeb Gandhi, Aslam Hossain Rashed alias Rash, Abdus Sabur Khan alias Sohel Mahfuj, Mizanur Rahman alias Baro Mizan, and Mamunur Rashid alias Ripon and Shariful Islam Khaled, a former student of the English department at Rajshahi University.
Of them, the first six "Neo-JMB" operatives are now in jail while the two others are on the run.
Court officials, meanwhile, said a metropolitan magistrate recorded the chargesheet but the case was expected to be transferred later this week to the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal for its quick disposal.
Twenty people, mostly foreigners, were killed in the brutal late-night attack on July 1 after the attackers took diners and restaurant staff hostage.
The Indian girl, Tarishi Jain, was a student of the University of California in Berkeley. She was in Dhaka for vacations.
Next morning, a joint commando force stormed the bakery, killing all the attackers and rescuing the captives, ending the terror siege of nearly 11 hours.