Briton Samiun Rahman has been accused of recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda. Photo: India Today

A British al-Qaeda operative suspected of establishing a base in the capital for recruiting Rohingya refugees to fight the Myanmar army was arrested on Sunday in east Delhi, according to media reports.

Samiun Rahman, who was living in India with the fake identity Shumon Haq (alias Raju Bhai ), had a false Bihar address, India Today reported.

Rahman, whose parents moved from Bangladesh to the UK in the 1960s, was arrested by the London police twice when he was 19 years old and jailed for 18 months, the report added.

Rahman became radicalized in prison, and when he was released in 2012, he went to Mauritania, where he was influenced by Salafists. He was then recruited by senior members of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Rahman spent three weeks training at AQIM’s camp in Syria. During his stay there, the group became aware of the “atrocities” being perpetrated against the Rohingya Muslim minority group in Myanmar, Asian Age reported. Due to his Bangladeshi background, he was selected to organize fighters in the country bordering Myanmar.

During interrogation, Rahman reportedly told police that he entered India in July with the aim of setting up a base in Mizoram and Manipur to recruit fighters for the  Rohingya movement.

He stayed at various madrasas in Kishanganj, Hazari Bagh, Delhi-NCR and other places, and reached out to young people, encouraging them to join al-Qaeda. Using Facebook and Telegram for communication, Rahman was able to influence Rohingya youths and stay in touch with fellow group members.

Rahman was booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2008 and the Arms Act.

An investigation targeting the al-Qaeda network he allegedly played a key role in building has been launched.

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