Maulana Tajuddin, one of the masterminds of the August 21 attack, is now staying in South Africa.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said this while talking to The Business Standard.
“According to our information, he is currently hiding in South Africa,” Shahriar Alam said, adding, “We have communicated with the South African government to locate him. We hope that the South African police will arrest him.”
He noted that Tajuddin is one of the main players of the heinous August 21, 2004 grenade attack and that finding him out is one of top priorities of the government.
Maulana Tajuddin supplied the grenades he got from a Pakistan-based terrorist group to carry out the heinous attack on a rally of the then opposition the Awami League at Bangabandhu Avenue in the capital.
He enjoyed a trouble-free life in the country for over two years after the attack but went to Pakistan on October 10, 2006, barely three weeks before the BNP-Jamaat alliance government completed its tenure.
Instructed by government high-ups, some officials of the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) ensured his safe escape with a fake passport.
However, the intelligence agencies had not been able to gather any concrete information about his whereabouts in the recent past.
Maulana Tajuddin, brother of BNP’s former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu, got the grenades – used in the August 21 attack on an Awami League rally – from Abu Yusuf Butt alias Abdul Majed Butt, a leader of the militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen.
Formed in 1989, Hizbul Mujahideen is among the oldest militant groups operating in the conflict-ridden valley of Kashmir and has been designated as a terrorist group by the United States.
Majed, in his confessional statement before the Speedy Trial Tribunal-1, Dhaka in 2009, said the grenades came from Pakistan through the sea route.
According to the statement, the grenades first came to the Chattogram port in a ship and were later brought to Dhaka for the attack.
For years, grenades and other ammunition used to come to Bangladesh from Pakistan in ships, and Tajuddin was in charge of sending those to India through different land border points.
The grenades used in the August 21 attack also came for the same purpose, but by the time Maulana Mufti Hannan of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami Bangladesh (Huji) was planning an attack on Sheikh Hasina with the help of some politicians in the BNP-Jamaat ruling alliance.
In this respect, a series of meetings were held at Pintu’s Dhanmondi residence to discuss the attack.
They decided to launch an attack on Sheikh Hasina’s anti-terrorism rally on Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004. Mufti Hannan and his men were assigned to carry out the attack.
Last year, Maulana Tajuddin was sentenced to death by a court for his involvement in the attack.