Bangladesh police said Monday they had arrested a British citizen suspected of entering the country to recruit militants for jihadist groups overseas such as the Islamic State organisation.
Officers said Samiun Rahman, of Bangladeshi origin, was picked up from a railway station in the capital around midnight on Sunday, days after police arrested two suspected militants for attempting to set up an Al-Qaeda network inside the Muslim-majority country.
"During primary interrogation, he told police he was staying in Bangladesh to recruit jihadists for the IS and Nusra brigade (an affiliate of Al-Qaeda)," Dhaka metropolitan police said in a statement.
"He further disclosed he took part in jihadi activities in Syria between September and December 2013 by becoming a member of Nusra brigade," the statement said, adding that he had travelled to Syria with a friend from Britain.
Dhaka police spokesman Monirul Islam said Rahman, alias Ibn Hamdan, planned to send Bangladeshi militants to Syria, and also wanted to set up an Al-Qaeda network inside Bangladesh and neighbouring Myanmar.
The arrests come after Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri announced earlier this month plans to launch a South Asian branch of the militant network.
Several banned Islamist militant groups operate in Bangladesh and have been blamed for a series of deadly attacks since late 1990s. But none of them have been linked to Al-Qaeda.
Also this month police arrested the suspected acting chief of another outlawed militant group, Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), blamed for a series of explosions in August 2005.