Bangladeshi held in al-Qaeda probe

Kyodo

Gunma Prefectural Police arrested a Bangladeshi man Thursday on suspicion of violating Japan’s immigration law, the eighth suspect to be held in connection with an investigation into suspected al-Qaeda activities in Japan.

The arrest of Shiddiqur Rahman, 37, follows that of another Bangladeshi man Wednesday in Tokyo in connection with the case. Shiddiqur, a factory worker living in Azuma, Gunma Prefecture, is suspected of overstaying the short-term visa he had when he entered Japan in August 1994 via Narita airport, Chiba Prefecture.

Police have confiscated prepaid mobile phone cards from his home. They suspect the cards were purchased for resale from Islam Mohamed Himu, another Bangladeshi who is already in custody as part of the ongoing probe.

Investigators suspect that a network centering on Lionel Dumont, a French citizen found to have lived in Japan for a year just before being arrested in Germany in December in connection with an attempted bombing and other charges, was trying to build up an al-Qaeda support base in Japan.

Dumont is thought to be a senior member of the Islamic terrorist network.