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Published On: Thu, Feb 22nd, 2018

Indian authorities investigate militant Aqa Mul Mujahidin Rohingya group over terrorism links

Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : India’s National Investigation Agency opened a probe into the militant Rohingya group Aqa Mul Mujahidin (AMM) over links to Pakistani and Bangladeshi extremists operating in India’s northeastern states and along its border with Myanmar and Bangladesh. Intelligence from 2017 strongly suggested that Islamist militants are opening a new battlefront in India in cooperation with radical Rohingya groups.

Rohingya village (archives)

Rohingya village (archives)

The National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) probe of the little-known Aqa-Mul-Mujahidin (AMM) follows the arrest of two suspected Jamaat-ul-Mujahidin Bangladesh (JMB) militants who were accused of carrying out a bombing in January 2018, of a Buddhist pilgrimage in Bihar, said an NIA official. India’s northeastern state of Bihar is part of the probe. The NIA official told BenarNews on condition of anonymity:

“We are investigating if AMM has any presence in India. We fear there could be some members of the group present in states bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar. And they might attempt to radicalize Rohingya refugees living in India”.

The bombing of the Buddhist pilgrimage at Bodh Gaya on January 19 occurred when Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was visiting the area for the annual Kalachakra festival. The perpetrators reportedly used low explosives. Nobody was injured in the explosion. Police stated that it aimed at avenging violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Interrogations of the two suspects, who confessed to being involved in the bomb plot, prompted the NIA to launch the probe into AMM activity in the northeast, the NIA official said. A senior police official in West Bengal state, where the two Neo-JMB suspects were arrested earlier this month, said AMM could prove to be a “headache for the security establishment in northeastern India. … This is the first time we are hearing about this group and that it might have already started recruiting in India to fight for the Rohingya cause,” said the police official who declined to be identified on the record.

Links to Saudi Arabia
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman_Saudi Arabia_2017

If Saudi Arabia doesn’t sponsor terrorism, what does I do to end sponsorship of terrorism by Saudi nationals or via Saudi Arabia?

Aqa Mul Mujahidin (Aqa-Mul-Mujahidin) AMM is led by a committee of senior leaders based in Saudi Arabia, the official said. AMB is also linked to Neo-JMB, a faction of JMB in Bangladesh, as well as Pakistan-based militant outfits Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the NIA official said. At some point, according to the official, most of AMM’s senior members lived in Pakistan.

The NIA, India’s top counter-terror agency, opened the investigation amid efforts by India’s Hindu national government to send back to Myanmar around 40,000 Rohingya refugees who are sheltering on Indian soil. Some 1 million Rohingya refugees are concentrated in Bangladesh alone, along its southeastern border with Myanmar’s Rakhine state, the home of the stateless Rohingya.

It should be noted that many of the displaced Rohingia were initially internally displaced in Bangladesh, and that Bangladeshi military intelligence is notorious for using internally and externally displaced Rohingia to destabilize Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Bangladesh has started several military adventures against Myanmar before.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has petitioned a court to order the deportation of certain members of the Rohingya community who had fled last year’s violence between Rohingua and Buddhists. It is worth noting that the outbreak of the violence was provoked by militant Islamists.

AMM leader’s links to Bangladesh and Pakistan
Myanmar, violence in 2013 (archives)

Myanmar, violence in 2013 (archives)

In October 2016 the office of the Presidency of Myanmar issued a statement blaming both the AMM and the Arkan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) for attacks on police posts in Rakhine that provoked intercommunal violence, which, in turn, caused tens of thousands of Rohingya to flee or return to Bangladesh which apparently does not live up to international standards by assuring that Rohingya don’t have to flee the country and to treat internally displaced Rohingya in accordance to international law.

“They persuade the young people using religious extremism, and they have financial support from outside,” Myanmar’s government said in the statement following those attacks. Ten months later, Naypyidaw blamed ARSA for another wave of attacks that unleashed a brutal military response that forced at least 688,000 Rohingya to cross into or return to Bangladesh.

The Myanmar government stressed in 2016 that AMM was led by a person known as Hafiz Tohar, a Rohingya who had lived in Bangladesh and Pakistan. While in Pakistan, he allegedly acquired training from the Taliban, according to the statement. “They broadcast their videos on the internet like ISIS [Islamic State], Taliban and al-Qaeda,” Myanmar said, while linking AMM to a long-dormant militant group called the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO).

Tohar, 45, was allegedly recruited by Abdus Qadoos Burmi, the chief of militant group Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami Arakan (HUJI-A) and a Pakistani national of Rohingya origin who had arranged for Tohar’s training in Pakistan, said the police official in West Bengal. HUJI-A is based in Pakistan. “Tohar, who hails from Maungdaw township in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, is just one of the commanders of the organization,” he said.

Foreign actors are fuelling Islamist violence in Myanmar and India, abusing the Rohingya for leverage
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar blasts Taliban for fueling violence in Myanmar.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar blasts Taliban for fueling violence in Myanmar.

In September 2017Afghanistan’s Hezb-e-Islami party led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who is “no stranger to terrorism and intelligence on terrorist networks” slammed Islamist terrorist organizations including Afghanistan’s Taliban for fueling the violence between Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya in Myanmar in recent years. The party stressed that Islamist extremism forced  Buddhists into taking action to defend themselves, thus fueling the eruption of the violence. However, there are other – less tainted and controversial sources documenting the involvement of foreign-backed Islamist terrorist organizations as well as neighboring Bangladesh and its military intelligence service.

Intelligence reports from 2012, reviewed by this author, showed that violence in Myanmar’s  Rakhine State, supposedly between Muslim Rohingya and Buddhists, has been planned and executed in collusion between the Al-Qaeda associated Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islam (HuJI) and the George Soros funded Rohingya Solidarity Organization. The basis of operations for these organizations and for the violence are Rohingya camps in Bangladesh. Both organizations as well as the camps are under supervision of Bangladesh´s intelligence service, DGFI. Later intelligence reports reviewed by nsnbc international in January 2017 substantiate that this trend has continued and now increasingly involved a group that designates itself as Harakah al-Yaqin (a.k.a. Faith Movement, HaY). In fact, nsnbc international, in January 2017, warned that Islamists are opening new fronts in India and Myanmar.

Links between the DGFI and Pakistan’s ISI as well as Saudi intelligence have been reported. The HaY is led by the committee of Rohingya in Saudi Arabia and its commanders on the ground are Rohingya from Myanmar’s Rakhine State as well as from Rohingya refugee centers in Bangladesh.

Decades of dispute, wars and violence - Myanmar's Rakhine State is the most resource-rich area in the Greater Mekong Region.

Decades of dispute, wars and violence – Myanmar’s Rakhine State is the most resource-rich area in the Greater Mekong Region.

It must be stressed that there is a significant amount of “internally displaced” Rohingya in Bangladesh and that most of the Rohingya who have come to Myanmar in recent decades fled oppression and internal displacement in Bangladesh. It is also noteworthy that a retired DGFI officer, in 2012, stressed to nsnbc that recruitment in Rohingya camps in Bangladesh is conducted under supervision of the DGFI.

The emergence of the HaY bears all the hallmarks of being extraordinarily well-organized and well-funded. The emergence of the AMM as major actor within the Islamist  networks operating in the region adds extra dimensions and urgency. The development of new battlefronts in Myanmar and India came as Myanmar’s new government attempts to find a political footing based on national coherence, national sovereignty, and an independent geopolitical position that takes into account, both Myanmar’s proximity to neighboring China and the energy-political and geostrategic interests of India, China and western corporate cartels who are interested in the country’s hydrocarbons. Myanmar’s Rakhine State is the most resource-rich area in the greater Mekong region.

CH/L – nsnbc 22.02.2018

About the Author

- Dr. Christof Lehmann is the founder and editor of nsnbc. He is a psychologist and former independent political consultant on conflict, conflict resolution and a wide range of other political issues. In March 2013 he established nsnbc as a daily, independent, international on-line newspaper. He can be contacted at nsnbc international at

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