Rahman Mizanur, who set up the Islamic State of Bangladesh (ISB), was working as a draftsman in a local construction firm at the point of his arrest. He had been working on-and-off in Singapore since 2007. At the time that Rahman Mizanur last came to Singapore in December 2015, the authorities had no information to suggest that he had radicalised views. Rahman Mizanur's radicalisation began around 2013 when he read radical material online. He became more radicalised after a Bangladeshi shared ISIS propaganda material with him when he (Rahman Mizanur) was in Bangladesh in 2015.
Five Other Bangladeshi Nationals Repatriated
2. The five repatriated Bangladeshi nationals who were not involved in ISB but nevertheless possessed and/or proliferated jihadi-related materials, or supported the use of armed violence in pursuit of a religious cause, are Evan Galib Hassan Chowdhury, Rana Masud, Pailot Md Rana Miea, Islam Tanjemul and Alomgir Md.
3. The ISB is the first group comprising all foreigners to be detained under the ISA for terrorism-related activities in Singapore. The ISB members met largely at open parks or fields. They shared large amounts of radical propaganda and videos which deepened the radicalism of the members. The group had an organisation structure with specific roles of the leader, deputy leader and persons assigned responsibilities for tasks like finance. The Bangladeshi authorities have been informed of the group and its activities, and have been helpful in providing some information.
4. The eight Bangladeshi nationals were arrested between late March and early April 2016. They were issued with two-year Orders of Detention in late April 2016. They had each worked in Singapore for cumulative periods of between three and ten years. The members generally lived in different accommodation in Singapore. While they were all employed in the local construction and marine industries, there was no significant concentration in any particular company. They were not known to be radicalised or involved in terrorism-related activities at the time when they first came to work in Singapore.
5. The eight Bangladeshi nationals are still under investigation for their activities in Singapore. At the time of the arrests, the funds raised were from the members' own contributions. They are not known to have acted on their plans to procure firearms yet. Several of them are liable to be prosecuted for terrorism-financing. Investigations are still on-going and we are not able to comment further on this matter.
Connection between ISB and Bangladeshis Arrested in 2015
6. There is no indication that this group of Bangladeshi nationals are also members of the Bangladeshi radical religious group who were arrested last year. Some of them are, however, personally acquainted with a few members of the radical religious group because they chanced upon one another in Singapore. The Bangladeshi nationals in both incidents were not known to have targeted Singapore at the time of their arrests.
Advisory to Foreign Workers in Dormitories
7. Following the arrest of the 27 Bangladeshi nationals last year, MHA has worked with MOM and an advisory was sent to dormitory operators for them to engage the foreign workers living in their quarters. Efforts to reach out to and engage the foreign worker population in Singapore are on-going. All the 27 nationals have been repatriated back to Bangladesh.
We Cannot Take Our Security for Granted
8. The uncovering of the Islamic State of Bangladesh (ISB) group in Singapore sends a strong signal that we cannot take our security for granted or be complacent. As part of ongoing heightened vigilance against the terrorism threat, Singapore has enhanced our law enforcement agencies' capabilities to prevent, detect and respond to terrorist attacks. The Government also works closely together with foreign security services to share intelligence on terrorism activities, and with various religious and community groups to counter extremist ideology and protect our community from radical influences.
9. There are currently 23 persons detained under the ISA for terrorism-related activities.
Related Press Release:
Detention of Eight Radicalised Bangladeshi Nationals under the Internal Security Act