Indian Police Recapture Fugitive Jihadist

Monday, 28 Oct 2013 11:29 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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Indian police said Monday they have recaptured Afzal Usmani, a member of the Indian Mujahedeen, or holy warriors jihadist organization, who escaped from custody last month.
 
Usmani was arrested early Sunday morning by an anti-terrorist police unit outside a railroad station in Rupadia after authorities tracked him to the area. 
 
Police said he was attempting to flee to neighboring Nepal, the Times of India reported.
 
Usmani gave authorities the slip on Sept. 20 after he was brought from jail into a Mumbai courtroom for a hearing on a high-profile terrorism case involving the Islamic Mujahedeen (IM).
 
Usmani is accused of participating in a series of July 2008 bombings in which 50 people were killed.
 
On July 26, 2008, Usmani and other IM members allegedly detonated 17 bombs targeting hospitals, public transportation, residential areas and other locations in Ahmedabad — the commercial hub of Gujarat state in a one-hour period, killing 50 people, according to the BBC.
 
The following day, police found another 22 bombs in nearby Surat, but all of them were safely defused.
 
Usmani is accused of planting bombs and stealing vehicles used to transport explosives used in the attacks.
 
Despite the seriousness of the charges and an extensive police presence when he arrived in court last month in Mumbai, Usmani escaped after receiving permission to go to the bathroom.
 
Instead of returning to court, Usmani fled, spurring a manhunt that lasted more than a month.
 
An Indian special court judge blamed the escape on “negligence on the part of the escort team which brought the accused to court,” according to the BBC.
 
The Indian government banned the IM three years ago after it was accused of an attack on a bakery that killed 17 people.
 
 
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