Investigators question Bangladesh's top militant leader

Investigators on Friday interrogated the alleged mastermind of recent deadly bombings across Bangladesh, a day after he surrendered to security forces following a 30-hour siege at his hideout in the country's northeast.

Shaikh Abdur Rahman, the leader of banned Islamic militant group Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, gave himself up Thursday in Sylhet city and was later driven to the capital Dhaka under heavy escort and taken into custody. Sylhet is 192 kilometers (120 miles) northeast of Dhaka.

"We are questioning Rahman and we believe he holds the key to many important information about his network," Lt. Col. Gulzar Uddin Ahmed, a top security official told reporters. He did not provide further details.

Rahman, 50, is under the custody of the Rapid Action Battalion, an elite anti-crime force that provided some of the 500 security agents involved in the operation forcing his surrender.

Rahman's group wants to introduce strict Islamic law in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, which is governed by secular laws.

Officials have blamed Jumatul Mujahedeen for bombings that killed 26 people and wounded dozens in the country in recent months and called him the mastermind of the violence.

A magistrate on Thursday granted police 10 days to question Rahman.

In a televised speech Thursday, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia thanked international counterterrorism agencies for their help, including Interpol, the FBI and Scotland Yard.

The United States said Rahman's arrest showed that U.S.-Bangladeshi, reports the AP.


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