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Encounter kills 5 presumed militants in Chittagong

CHITTAGONG, March 16, 2017 (BSS) - Casualties in the anti-militancy crackdown in Chittagong rose to five as police said they found body of a seven-year-old child at the scene hours after four suspected militants including a woman were killed.

"The body of the child was found on the floor of the building as we were wrapping up the operation . . . we suspect him to be a child of the slain extremists," additional police super Habibur Rahman told newsmen here.

Police's Counter Terrorism unit additional deputy commissioner Quazi Sanowar Ahmed said at the end of the operation they seized huge explosives which could have used to manufacture bombs with 40 to 50 kilograms capacity.

"The recovered bomb manufacturing accessories include acid, liquid chemical and 12 sets of gel explosives", he said.

Police's elite Counter Terrorism Unit SWAT and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)earlier in the morning raided the hideout of the militants presumed to be operatives of Neo-Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (neo-JMB),ending a nightlong siege to the site.

"Two militants were killed in suicidal explosions and another two were killed in gunshots during the encounter at Sitakunda," Chittagong police's additional superintendent Reazaul Masud earlier told BSS.

He said the encounter began after a night-long police siege to the hideout of the neo-JMB, which staged the deadly July 1, 2016 attack on a Dhaka Holey Artisan cafe, killing 22 people including 17 foreigners.

Police said the joint team of counter-terrorism unit and Special Weapon and Tactic Team (SWAT) came from Dhaka to be joined with RAB and Chittagong district police in launching the raid titled 'Assault -16' at a two-storey building, Chhya Nir at Premtala area of Sitakunda at around 6.10 am.

They said the terrorists, who visibly were living at the house in the guise of ordinary tenants, hurled grenades and powerful bombs wounding two SWAT members as police opened fire 6.24 am.

The wounded policemen are now being treated at Combined Military Hospital of Chittagong.

"Police launched the operation ending the siege after 6 am when the militants started blasting grenades . . . explosions rocked the entire neighbourhood for nearly 10 minutes," a journalist reported from the scene.

"Twenty ordinary residents of the house including female and children of seven families were virtually trapped inside as the operation was underway but they came out of the building as the encounter ended," Counter-terrorism unit's deputy commissioner Abdul Mannan said.

Earlier, police cordoned 'Chhaya Nir" after arresting a couple and their son with arms and explosives from another Neo-JMB hideout' at the neighbourhood on Wednesday evening.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)