Police launch assault on 2nd militant den in Moulvibazar

MOULVIBAZAR, March 31, 2017 (BSS) � Police today launched assaults on a second militant den in Moulvibazar a day after presumably all eight of a militant family blew themselves up in a nearby hideout amidst a security siege.

Our SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team started operations at their (second) hideout, a police officer in Moulvibazar told newsmen as witnesses said explosions and gunfire rocked the neighbourhood.

The development came a day after police said two militant couples blew themselves up along with their four minor children, staging a suicide blast at their den on the outskirts of Moulvibazar town, declining to respond to calls for their surrender.

Police's counter terrorism and transnational crimes (CTTC) unit that incorporates SWAT two days ago launched "Operation Hit Back" in simultaneously raiding two Neo-Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (Neo-JMB) dens in the district with supports of other police units including elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and fire service.

An army lieutenant colonel serving as RAB's intelligence wing chief, meanwhile, died overnight a week after he was critically wounded in militants retaliatory attacks as a military-led commando assault was underway in nearby Sylhet district.

Doctors said Abul Kalam Azad received critical head injuries while surgeons at a Singapore facility sent him back home failing to treat him after he was flown there while he died after midnight yesterday at CMH in Dhaka.

All four extremists holed up in their den in Sylhet were eventually killed in army's "Operation Twilight" after militant attacks from outside the hideout killed six people including two police inspectors and injured 50 others near the scene during a five-day long siege there.

Police suspected one of them to be Musa, chief of Neo-JMB, which carried out the deadly July 1, 2016 attack on a Dhaka cafe leaving 22 dead, 17 being foreigners.

The police assault on the second Moulvibazar den came a day after the CTTC unit chief Monirul Islam announced end of the Operation Hit Back's first part a day after the suicide blast at their first den.

Islam said that the blast was so severe that it tore into pieces the dead making it difficult to ascertain exactly how many people were inside and only the forensic examinations could confirm the casualty figure.

But we assume they are seven or eight in number, he said.

A neighbour who lives in a house adjacent to the den, however, told newsmen earlier that two couples having five children aged between one seven years used to live in the house as tenants.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)