RAB arrests 17 militants in daylong raid in Bandarban hills

Several people who left their home to join militant groups are among the arrestees, law enforcers say

Bandarban Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 8 Feb 2023, 12:26 PM
Updated : 8 Feb 2023, 12:26 PM

The Rapid Action Battalion has arrested 17 suspected members of the new militant group Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya and three suspected members of separatist group Kuki-Chin National Front or KNF, also known as the Bawm Party, in a daylong raid in the remote hills of Bandarban’s Thanchi Upazila.

Several people who left their homes to join militant groups are among the arrestees apprehended in the operation that began early on Tuesday, according to RAB spokesman Commander Khandaker Al Moin.

Five other suspects who were spotted in a video of militant training that recently went viral on social media are also among the arrestees, he said at a media briefing in Bandarban on Wednesday.

The law enforcers recovered arms, ammunition, bomb-making materials, books and leaflets of extremist propaganda, as well as Tk 700,000 from the militants during the raid.

RAB in the statement said it arrested three members of the Bawm Party and seven militants after conducting separate raids at Rangamati’s Belaichhari and Bandarnan’s Rowangchari on Oct 20 last year.

The rest of the members of the gang escaped Ramjudan and went into hiding in various places across the Hill Tracts after the raid. The militants kept changing their location as well.

“The law enforcers launched the raid following a tip-off that a group of militants were travelling to the Remakri Bridge area from Thanchi. When the RAB reached the scene, the militants and the members of the separatist group opened fire on the force, triggering a gunfight between them,” Moin said.

RAB chief M Khurshid Hossain said the elite force had received information about the gathering of the militants at the Remakri Bridge area amid a series of campaigns launched against the extremists who had previously ambushed a RAB patrol team on Jan 28. Later the operation was planned after the law enforcers heard they would cross the Remakri Bridge on Tuesday.

“They exchanged fire with a total of six RAB patrol units while crossing the bridge.”

The militants arrested in the raid are - Aas Sami Rahman Saad, 19, Shakhawat Hossain alias Mabrur, 21, Sohel Molla alias Saifullah, 22, Al Amin Fakir alias Mostak, 19, Miraz Shikdar alias Ashraf Hossain, 26, Jahirul Islam alias Omar Faruque, 27, Riaz Sheikh alias Zayed, 24, Obaidullah alias Sakib, 20, Jewel Mahmud, 27, Ilias Rahman alias Tanjil, 32, Habibur Rahman alias Morha, 23, Abdus Salam Raki alias Dumchuk, 28, Zobayer Ahmed alias Aiman, 29, Shamim Hossian alias Abu Huraira, 26, Tawyabur Rahman Shohan alias Mint, 20, Mahmud Dauka alias Haka, 20 amd Muhammad Abu Huraira alias Miraz, 22.

The three suspected Bawm Party members apprehended are - Lal Mole Siam Bawm, Flag Cross, and Malsom Pangkuya.

Earlier on Jan 23, RAB arrested the top two leaders of the militant group Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya during a raid at an area next to the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp. The law enforcers had a gunfight with the militants during the operation.

The RAB revealed the name of a new militant group, Jamatul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya, in October last year. The law enforcers also reported a rare nexus between the Islamic militants and separatist groups in the remote areas that prompted them to launch a series of operations in the Chattogram Hill Tracts.