Security forces in Bangladesh say a Muslim seminary raided earlier this week is actually a militant training camp with ties to a British charity.Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion stormed the madrassa in the coastal district of Bhola Tuesday and arrested four people, including a teacher.
Officials say they found small arms, 3,000 rounds of ammunition and enough explosives to "make several hundred hand grenades."They also say they found books that are "in line with extremists like [Osama] bin Laden."
Bangladesh says funding for the madrassa comes from Green Crescent, a British-based charity that had plans to build two more seminaries.British newspapers say Green Crescent is run by 45-year-old Faisal Mostafa. British authorities charged Mostafa with plotting to cause explosions but he was acquitted in 2002. Mostafa was also acquitted of similar charges in 1996.Britain's Charity Commission, which regulates charities, says the allegations are of serious concern and that it is working with the relevant law enforcement agencies.Green Crescent's Web site says it was founded in 1998 by British and Bangladeshi students.
It says the organization's focus is on long-term education and health projects and that all donations "go directly to where it is needed."Officials in Bangladesh say there were 11 children, between the ages of seven and eight, living at the madrassa at the time of the raid. Bangladesh has long viewed madrassas as potential recruiting grounds for militant groups.It is not clear whether the raid was related to the government's investigation into last month's deadly mutiny by border guards.Investigators say some of the guards arrested after the uprising have ties to an outlawed Islamist militant group, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh.