Jihadists having link to terror network based in Pakistan are recruiting stateless Rohingya Muslims along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border that is likely to jeopardize security of the region.
An exiled Myanmar rights group, quoting international security agencies, said Pakistan's dreaded Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and two of its front groups have been active on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border.
The primary objective of the covert operation of LeT is to recruit, train and radicalism the Rohingyas for redeployment in the eastern region of South Asia.
The undocumented Rohingyas in Bangladesh are the primary stakeholders for recruitment by various charitable organisations in Myanmar.
The recruits are smuggled into Pakistan for weapons and explosive training to unleash deadly blows at soft targets in the region, Indian counter-terrorism agencies have confirmed.
The LeT, which has earned clouts within the Pakistan's military establishment, has the "widest possible network and the best possible finance" despite being branded a terror outfit.
Mizzima, an independent media in exile, reports that LeT front organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) and Fala-I-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) are active among the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and Rohingya Muslim residents in Myanmar under garb of relief and rehabilitation projects.
The Rohingyas, living in Bangladesh after having fled from military persecution in Buddhist-ruled Myanmar, have been under the scanner of security officials of Bangladesh. The suspects are under surveillance, said a top security agency official on Monday.
Both Bangladesh and India have expressed their concern over the issue of security threat to the Myanmar authority. They fear birth of new Islamic radical terrorism in the region and advised the Myanmar government to neutralise the "conspiracy" of LeT and its front organisations.
A highly placed security official said they are monitoring the situation and are gathering information which are regularly analysed.
According to sources, Western intelligence agencies have shared their collated information with Bangladesh security agencies.
However, Bangladesh officials deny the agency has been alerted by western sources.
On the other hand, the Indian intelligence, quoted by Indian media, said they took the Western warnings 'seriously'.
LeT chief Hafiz Muhammed Sayyid has been making frequent references to the 'atrocities on Rohingya Muslims' in his speeches before Pakistani audiences and encouraged its cadres to recruit Rohingyas to avenge the riots.
The LeT front JUD organised a 'Difa-e-Mussalman Arakan Conference' in Karachi soon after the Rakhine state riots in Myanmar in July 2012 and called for 'revenge in the Arakans.'
The dais was shared by Maulana Abdus Quddus Burmi, the Harkat-ul-Jihad of Arakans (HUJA), Noor Hussain Arakani of Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) and Noor al Bashar Arakani, a close associate of Al Qaeda according to a western sources said.
The LeT's lobbying with the Pakistan government led to Islamabad sponsoring a resolution in the 29th session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 3rd July, expressing 'serious concern' over the plight of the Rohingyas in Myanmar, where Bangladesh shelter of Rohingya refugees has been deliberately ignored.
First published in the Daily Observer, 4 August, 2015
Saleem Samad, is an Ashoka Fellow (USA), recipient of Hellman-Hammett Award and also Bangladesh correspondent of Paris based international media rights organization, Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Twitter @saleemsamad Email: email@example.com