Sirajganj ‘militant hideout’ busted, top JMB leader arrested

The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) says it has arrested four militants, including one top regional leader of banned militant group Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), from a house in Sirajganj’s Shahjadpur upazila.

The surrendered militants are Kiran alias Halim alias Shamim, regional chief of JMB Santhia upazila unit in Pabna; Naimul Islam, 21, of Pabna; Atiar Rahman alias Alam Sainik, 22, and Aminul Islam Shanto, 25, both of Tala upazila in Satkhira.

Rab said they had cordoned off the house in the municipality’s Ukilpara neighbourhood on Friday morning (from 5am) based on information provided by militants arrested the previous day.

Four suspected militants surrendered until 11am, Rab Legal and Media wing chief Lt Col Ashik Billah said, particularly noting that Pabna-Sirajganj regional chief Kiran was among the arrestees.

A gunfight took place between the law enforcers and militants although no one was injured.

The nabbed JMB members are currently being interrogated.

There was a loud explosion in the house in the morning.

A senior Rab official told the media that the house was used as a training centre.

They rented the house identifying themselves as students on November 5 and were hatching a conspiracy including sabotage and militancy, Billah said.

Rab seized two pistols, a machete, bomb making equipment and books on militancy from the house, he said.

Rab is preparing to file four separate cases: three under the Anti-Terrorism Act, Arms Act, and Explosive Substance Act and another for obstructing government work.

The raid in Sirajganj was conducted based on information provided by JMB Rajshahi region chief Mahmud, who was arrested on Thursday night.

Neighbours said some youths had rented the ground floor of an under-construction building bought by one Khairul Alam.

The house was frequented by many unknown people and some residents of the house were running a shop in the neighbourhood. Some used to sell fried snacks at Alif-Lam-Mim Bhatarmor area, locals said.

Rab said more information would be provided later.

The government launched a massive crackdown on militants after the July 1, 2016 Holey Artisan attack. Overnight raids including holdouts became quite frequent as the government sought to nip the militant wave in the bud, and did so by-and-large successfully in 2016-17.

Successful raids and deaths of top militant leaders managed to bring down militant activities in the country, with no major incident reported in the country since the Holey attacks.

Source: United News of Bangladesh