Narsingdi Militant Hideout: Two killed in police raid
Two militant suspects, including a woman, were killed in a police operation at a hideout in Narsingdi yesterday, about two weeks after they came to the district with several other militant suspects to attend the weeding of one of their female cohorts.
Police said the female militant suspect, who was supposed to get married online on Monday night to a man living abroad, was still hiding with several other suspects in another hideout in nearby Gangpar area.
Law enforcers kept the entire area cordoned off since 10:00pm Monday.
The dead man was the media wing chief of “neo-JMB” and the woman was his wife. Both were around 30, said officials of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, who busted the den in Shaikerchar area around 4:00pm yesterday.
The officials, however, refused to disclose their names immediately.
They claimed the dead man was a key leader in “neo-JMB”, and that he played a big role in hiring new members and reorganising the outfit that lost much of its strength due to many anti-militancy operations since the Gulshan café attack.
With the two deaths yesterday, at least 84 militant suspects have been killed in anti-militancy drives by law enforcers since the café attack on July 1 in 2016.
The latest operation follows a Rab drive at a militant den in Chattogram's Mirsarai on October 5 in which two suspected members of banned militant outfit JMB were killed.
CTTC unit officials said that based on intelligence that 10 to 15 “neo-JMB” militants gathered in two hideouts only seven kilometres off Narsingdi town to attend a weeding party, CTTC unit personnel along with members of the Lawful Interception Cell (LIC) of the police headquarters cordoned off the two dens around 10:00pm Monday.
The distance between the two hideouts is around 2.5 km.
Members of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team of the CTTC unit launched the operation at Shaikerchar hideout on the fourth floor of a five-storey building around 10:00am yesterday.
“The militants were asked to surrender but they refused. We initially used [tear] gas and then fired shots at the den ... The “militants” also fired back at police,” Inspector General of Police Mohammad Javed Patwary told reporters at the spot.
During the six-hour operation, this correspondent heard gunshots intermittently around 200 metres away from the building. Journalists were not allowed to go beyond that point.
Once the operation was over around 4:00pm, CTTC unit officials entered the two-room apartment where they found that over 300 pages, believed to be organisational documents, were burnt, said one of the officials seeking anonymity.
The militants had planned a celebration there. They brought meat, fish and many other things to the apartment, said the official.
About the female militant suspect hiding in the other hideout at Gangpar, the official said they were yet to know the identity of the woman and her would-be groom, who lives in a foreign country.
The official, however, could not say whether the groom has any links to militancy.
Briefing reporters after the operation, Monirul Islam, chief of the CTTC unit, said the two terror suspects were killed on the spot, and that they exploded four bombs inside the hideout where a small firearm was also found.
There was no collateral damage, he added.
The militants had made bombs to carry out subversive activities. “But we have foiled their plan,” he mentioned.
Replying to a query, he said it would be known whether the two suspects were killed in the explosions or firing after completion of inquest and autopsy.
Earlier, Monirul had said they evacuated people living in and around the militant den to a safer place to avert collateral damage.
CTTC unit officials said the two militants identifying themselves as a couple rented the apartment on the fourth floor on October 5.
The duo had first approached a local named Nazmul and asked him whether he could help them rent a flat in the area. They told Nazmul that they were from Narayanganj's Araihazar upazila.
Police have detained Nazmul for interrogation.
Talking to journalists, the CTTC unit chief said the two dead militants had links with those hiding in the other den at Gangpar.
Responding to a question, he said more than one militant has been holing up there.
The hideout at a sixth-floor apartment of a seven-storey building was cordoned off till filing of this report at 10:15pm.
Monirul said they were still negotiating with the terror suspects and they would decide the next course of action if the negotiation fails.
The militant suspects rented the apartment on October 3. the daily star.