SINGAPORE - Eight Bangladeshi men who were detained by Singapore's Internal Security Department in April are part of a clandestine group which identified other Bangladeshi civilians, media personnel and government officials as targets, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Tuesday (May 3).
The group called itself the Islamic State in Bangladesh (ISB) and its members had plans to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as foreign fighters, MHA added.
However, as they felt that it would be difficult for them to make their way to Syria, they focused their plans on returning to Bangladesh to overthrow the democratically-elected government through the use of force, so that they could establish an Islamic state in Bangladesh and bring it under ISIS' self-declared caliphate.
According to MHA, the group is believed to have been formed in March by S-Pass holder Rahman Mizanur, 31. The other members, aged 26 to 34, were all work permit holders employed in the construction and marine industries.
A document titled "We Need for Jihad Fight" was recovered from Rahman Mizanur, which contained a list of Bangladeshi government leaders, military officials, media personnel and "disbelievers" who could be targeted for attack. He also possessed documents on weapons and bomb making, as well as a significant amount of material on ISIS and Al-Qaeda, which he used to recruit members in Singapore since the start of the year.
In a statement, MHA said that Rahman Mizanur indicated that he would carry out an attack anywhere if he was instructed by ISIS to do so. However, there are no specific indications that Singapore was identified as a target by the group
The group is also alleged to have raised money to purchase firearms for their attacks, but the money they collected has since been seized.
MHA said in its statement that it believes there are at least two more members in the group who are currently in Bangladesh.
The detained ISB members in Singapore are still under investigation for their activities here. Several of them could be prosecuted for terrorism financing.
Another five Bangladeshi workers in Singapore who were found to have possessed or proliferated jihadi-related materials, or supported the use of armed violence in pursuit of a religious cause were found to have no involvement in ISB, but have since been repatriated.
Members of the public who suspect that a person has been radicalised, or is engaging in terrorist activities or propagating extremist teachings, can inform the Internal Security Department or call the police.