A new concern gripping the Bangladesh security establishment is the possibility of militants going around in the garb of security guards in private service. Police sleuths have therefore started vetting private security guards to “prevent militants masquerading as security staff from plotting acts of sabotage,” says a media report in Dhaka quoting sources in the Special Branch (SB) of Police.
This followed the recent busting of several militant dens across the country. The very nature of their job gives the security guards access to important establishments where they are deployed. And this is what makes their job attractive enough for infiltration for militants.
The recent influx of Rohingyas and the emergence of new faction of Jama’at ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (known as New JMB) and Ansar al-Islam have heightened the urgency for screening of private guards.
“Though the screening of security guards is a regular job of Special Branch, the task has been intensified with the recent influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar and also for maintaining law and order in the country,” Shahely Ferdous, assistant inspector general (media and public relations) at the Police Headquarters, said.
Intelligence agencies had already been alerted that members of militant outfits – especially the new faction of Jama’at ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (known as New JMB) and Ansar al-Islam – were disguising themselves as readymade garment workers, chauffeurs, hawkers and street vendors.
But their camouflaging as security guards seems like a new dimension to their tactics and strategies.
According to Dhaka Tribune, the Special Branch Police have made a list of security service companies and asked them to submit details of their employees working as guards. Not all these companies are members of the Bangladesh Security Services Companies Owners Association- the apex industry body.
“To check the possible inclusion of militants, we are working on integrating all the agencies into a single association like Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association or Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, so that none can conduct unlawful activities masquerading as an employee of a security service provider,” said spokesman of Bangladesh Security Services Companies Owners Association.
Law enforcement agencies launched a crackdown on militants in the aftermath of the Gulshan terror attack that left 20 people dead on July 1 last year. Since then, several hundred militants have been detained and over 80 suspects killed during anti-militancy drives by law enforcers.