Bangladesh busts militant den: Nine killed in gun battle with law enforcers

July 26, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Shaheen Mollah

 

By

Sheuli Akter

Terror-gripped Bangladesh has been striving to rein militant activities. As part of various efforts, Bangladesh law enforcers early Tuesday busted a militant den where nine suspected militants of banned Islamist outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were killed in a “gunfight” during the raid on the group’s hideout in the capital Dhaka.

“Nine operatives of JMB militant outfit died during the joint forces operation “Storm 26,” A K M Shahidul Hoque, inspector general of Bangladesh Police, told journalists Tuesday morning.

He said another militant who also sustained bullet injuries was arrested and has been rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for treatment.

Acting on a tip off, he said law enforcers cordoned off a building in Dhaka’s downtown Kalayanpur area early Tuesday.

Sensing the presence of the law enforcers, including anti-crime elite force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), militants fired and lobbed hand-made grenades targeting law enforcers, he added.

According to the police chief, Law enforcers in retaliation also fired at the militants triggering a gunfight which continued for hours.

At dawn, at about 6:00 am local time, on Tuesday policemen and Rapid Action Battalion members stormed the hideout and found the bodies of the JMB men who are belived to be dead in the gunfight, he said.

Sources said huge arms and ammunitions were seized from the apartment where the JMB militants were hiding for about a month to launch a fresh attack.

“So far we understand the JMB operatives wanted to stage another big terror attack like those of earlier this month,” Haque said.

JMB has been campaigning for the establishment of Islamic rule in Bangladesh since long.

The militant outfit had carried out a series of bombing attacks in 63 out of the country’s 64 districts, including the capital of Dhaka on Aug. 17, 2005, leaving two people dead and 150 others injured.

Six top JMB leaders including Shaykh Abdur Rahman, were hanged in 2007.

In recent years JMB is again trying to strengthen its activities.

After two major terror attacks including the July 1 siege staged by militants at a Spanish Restaurant in Dhaka’s Gulshan diplomatic area, Bangladesh has stepped up its anti-militant drives.

22 people, including 18 foreigners and two police officers were killed in the country’s first-ever hostage crisis in Gulshan on July 1. IS has claim credit for the Gulshan cafe attack. Bangladesh authorities ruled out IS presence in the country and said homegrown militants have attacked the Spanish cafe.

The 12-hour hostage crisis ended after Bangladesh law enforcers stormed the cafe, leaving five of the six attackers dead. Another attacker later died in hospital.

Less than a week after, at least four people were killed, including two police officers and one of the attackers, after several explosions and gunfire took place at the entrance of the country’s largest Sholakia Eid prayer venue in Kishoreganj district, some 117 km northeast of Dhaka, on the morning of July 7.

Bangladesh has been facing a rising tide of militancy in recent years. Dozens of secular bloogers, free-thinkers and minority religious leaders have either been targeted or killed by miltants.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina‘s governemnt has reiterated its commitment in fighting militancy and terrorism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheuli Akter

Sheuli Akter, from Bangladesh, is a Special Correspondent and Editor of NsNewsWire, (Bangladesh’s First Press Newswire). Previously she had worked for Bangladesh’ top news agency, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) and top newspaper (now defunct) The Bangladesh Observer. She also gained an honourable mention in the first ever World Media Summit WMS Awards for ‘Exemplary News Professionals in Developing Countries’, receiving the award in Beijing in January 2015.

 

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