A British-Bangladeshi man has been arrested in Dhaka on suspicion of recruiting volunteers to fight with the Islamic State militant group.
Samiun Rahman, a 24-year-old former mini-cab controller from London, was arrested by police in the Bangladeshi capital on Sunday.
He is thought to have arrived in Bangladesh six months ago to scout for potential recruits for both Islamic State and the Al-Qaeda off-shoot Al Nusra front.
“He has plans to recruit and send a team from Bangladesh to fight in Syria,” Dhaka police spokesman Monirul Islam said at a news conference.
“He also went to Morocco and Mauritius, but we are yet to know the reason behind his trips.”
“During primary interrogation, he told police he was staying in Bangladesh to recruit jihadists for the IS and Nusra brigade,” Dhaka metropolitan police said in a statement.
It is believed that Rahman initially travelled to Syria to join rebels fighting against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
One Bangladeshi official sayd that Rahman had planned to send Bangladeshi militants to Syria, and also wanted to set up an al-Qaida network inside Bangladesh and neighbouring Myanmar.
Rahman had connected with a young man in Bangladesh via Facebook before arriving in the country, according to the police.
Rahman was born in the United Kingdom, but his parents were from a town northeast of Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, police said.
Rahman had been recruiting potential IS fighters in Dhaka and in Sylhet where his family reportedly has relatives.
A woman known to Rahman told the Daily Telegraph that he had become radicalized after serving a prison sentence in the UK.
She told the Telegraph: “Before he went to prison, he wasn’t religious at all. He drank all the time and took drugs. He was completely antisocial and always arguing with his older brother about this and that.”
The neighbour reportedly said Rahman started going to the mosque frequently and then he left for the Middle East.
“I know his mum told one of the neighbours she was worried he’d gone to fight with ISIS. It must be terrible for her.”
Bangladesh police arrested three alleged recruits last week, including the son of a retired judge and the other the son of a senior civil servant.
The young men had been told they would travel to Syria via Turkey posing as followers of the Tabligh Jamaat, a moderate Islamic religious study group.
Last week, police arrested seven Islamic militants, who are suspected members of the banned militant organization Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh.
The arrests come after Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri announced earlier in September the creation of an Indian branch of his militant group to “raise the flag of jihad” across South Asia.
According to intelligence experts more than 500 Britons have travelled to Syria to join various Jihadist militant groups since the uprising against Assad began in 2011.