Two members of London Bridge terrorist’s gang born in Bangladesh

Aditi Khanna, London
Published : 00:59, Dec 03, 2019 | Updated : 01:00, Dec 03, 2019

People leave the area near Borough Market after an incident at London Bridge, in London, Britain, November 29, 2019. REUTERSTwo accomplices of a nine-member gang led by London Bridge terrorist Usman Khan sentenced for terrorism offences in 2012 were Bangladesh-born UK nationals.
While most members of the gang convicted for their role in plotting to bomb the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and also target VIPs such as Boris Johnson – Mayor of London at the time – were UK-born of Pakistani origin, two of them were born in Bangladesh before their families had relocated. At the time of their sentencing, the judge had described all the men as Islamist fundamentalists but had singled out Usman Khan - shot dead at the scene of Friday's attack by armed officers - as particularly dangerous.
“In my judgment, these offenders would remain, even after a lengthy term of imprisonment, of such a significant risk that the public could not be adequately protected by their being managed on licence in the community,” Judge Alan Wilkie had said in 2012, adding that “the risk they pose is so significant that it can only be adequately met by an indeterminate sentence”.
However, as it has emerged in the last few days, Khan had gone on to appeal against the indeterminate sentence and was out on early release with an electronic tag for monitoring when he launched his knife attack and killed two people – Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23 – at a prisoner rehabilitation conference in London Bridge on Friday.
The closest accomplice of Usman Khan has since been recalled to prison after UK security services launched an urgent review of dangerous prisoners as the scene of the attack was opened to traffic and pedestrians amid heavy police presence on Monday.
Nazam Hussain’s family also came from the same village in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) as Usman Khan and had been together found guilty of terrorism offences and plans to set up a PoK terrorist training camp in the guise of a madrassa in 2012. Both Khan and Hussain were planning to travel to PoK in 2011 but were arrested by security forces in coordinated raids in December 2010 as their nine-member gang was busted. Counter-terrorism officers arrested 34-year-old Hussain over the weekend from Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, the central England region where Usman Khan also hailed from.
“Staffordshire Police continue to carry out further enhanced neighbourhood patrols to reassure local communities following the incident which took place in London on Friday and the arrest of a man last night in Stoke-on-Trent by West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit in connection to a wider ongoing review of existing licence conditions of convicted terrorism offenders,” said Staffordshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Nick Baker.
“People will be aware that the man who carried out the attack in London was living in Staffordshire. Two properties in the county continue to be searched and cordons remain in place at these locations as detectives and forensic officers continue with their investigation,” he said.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson broke from General Election campaigning to attend a vigil in Guildhall Yard in London in memory of the two victims of Friday’s terrorist strike, when Khan went on a rampage with two knives before being overpowered by members of the public and being shot by a City of London Police armed officer.
Friends and family also paid tribute to the two victims at a vigil in the town of Cambridge as a minute’s silence was held in their memory on Monday morning.
"The best way to defeat this hatred is not by turning on one another, but it's by focussing on the values that bind us, to take hope from the heroism of ordinary Londoners and our emergency services who ran towards danger, risking their lives to help people they didn't even know," said London Mayor Sadiq Khan at the vigil in the UK capital.