Bangladesh: 5 Alleged Militants, Child Die During Police Raids

Kamran Reza Chowdhury
170316_BD_militants_ctg_EN_620.jpg Police escort residents of a building in Chittagong district to safety after authorities targeted it in a counter-terrorist raid, March 16, 2017.
Newsroom photo

A boy and five suspected militants were killed Thursday during two raids by police in southern and eastern Bangladesh, officials said.

The counter-terrorist raids were the deadliest since 12 suspects were killed during a series of police operations near Dhaka on Oct. 8. Thursday’s killings brought to at least 46 the total number of alleged militants who have died during raids or shootouts with police since terrorists massacred 20 hostages at a café in Dhaka in July 2016.

The boy died Thursday along with four alleged members of the militant group Neo-JMB, including a female suspect, when some of the suspects blew themselves up as a special weapons and tactical (SWAT) team and counter-terrorist officers raided their hideout in a Chittagong district, according to police.

“The child’s body was lying on the staircase where the woman militant was found dead,” Chittagong Police Additional Superintendent Habibur Rahman told reporters. He said the police would conduct DNA tests to identify the boy and his parents.

Elsewhere, a fifth suspected militant died in a shootout with police in Brahmanbaria, a district in eastern Bangladesh. He was identified as Tajul Islam Mahmud (alias Mama Hujur), 42, one of seven regional commanders of another militant group, Harkatul Jihad al-Islami Bangladesh (HuJI), police said.

Police have not identified the five people killed in Sitakunda, a sub-district of Chittagong district, but they allegedly belonged to a faction of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) that local authorities have blamed for last year’s overnight siege at the Holey Artisan Bakery café – the nation’s deadliest terrorist attack.

Police and witnesses said SWAT officers and counter-terrorism forces raided the militants’ den on the ground floor of a two-story building at 6 a.m. and finished the operation four hours later.

“One of the four slain militants is a woman. One of them died from being shot by police, while the others blew themselves up. The bodies of two militants were torn apart and cannot be identified. Faces of two others are recognizable,” Shafiqul Islam, the deputy inspector general (DIG) of Chittagong police, told reporters.


Acting on a tip from building owner Suvash Chandra Das, police on Wednesday afternoon arrested a couple in the Amirabad neighborhood of Sitakunda, who had with them a 2-month-old baby.

The couple was identified as “Jasim” and his wife, “Arzina.” Das told BenarNews that Arzina had tried unsuccessfully to set off a suicide vest.

The couple provided information that led police to encircle the second den about two kilometers (1 mile) from the couple’s hideout, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told BenarNews.

“They all belonged to Neo-JMB. They are homegrown militants,” he said. Neo-JMB members follow Islamic State ideology.

Second den

Around 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sitakunda police tried to arrest the suspects at the Chhayaneer apartment building, but militants threw grenades at police, injuring Mozammel Haque, the officer-in-charge.

Police surrounded the building so they could not escape and SWAT team members took their positions about 6 p.m. Three hours later, police deployed armored vehicles to the scene.

Islam said SWAT members and officers from a counter-terrorism unit took position on the roofs of adjacent buildings Thursday morning after the militants did not respond to calls to surrender.

Two militants clad in suicide vests came out of the ground-floor apartment, chanting “Allahu Akbar,” and headed to the building’s roof.

“The SWAT members shot them as they tried to detonate the explosives. One militant fell while the other was able to set off his explosives,” Islam said.

The militants detonated explosives in the staircase when SWAT members jumped on the roof from the adjacent buildings, a police officer, who was involved in the raid but requested anonymity, told BenarNews. The woman and child were killed by the explosions.

Islam said the militants stockpiled huge quantity of grenades, explosives and bomb-making materials in their apartment and the building’s roof.

The government carried out the raid in the morning to avoid civilian casualties, the home minister told BenarNews.

Islam said 20 other residents of the building were evacuated after the raid. None were injured.

HuJI militant Killed

Meanwhile, police in the Kashba sub-district of Brahmanbaria raided a house to capture five or six militants inside, Md Mohiuddin, the Kashba police officer-in-charge, told BenarNews.

“As we reached there, the militants started firing at us; we countered. Mama Hujur died in the shootout while his accomplices fled the scene,” he said.

Mohiuddin said police had received a tip from a person suspected in killing herbal doctor Farid Miah on Feb. 17 in Kashba, Brahmabaria district.

The suspect confessed that he had killed Farid Miah under orders from Mama Huzur, Mohiuddin said.

Including Thursday’s deaths, Bangladesh officials said at least 37 militants had been killed in 12 police raids across the country following the café attack in Dhaka on July 1. In addition, nine suspected militants were killed in seven gunfights with the police.


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