Gunfire heard at Mirpur ‘militant den’

06 Sep 2017, 09:07 | updated: 06 Sep 2017, 13:05

NTV Online

Dhaka: Sound of sporadic firing has been heard from inside the suspected militant den at Darus Salam in Mirpur, where the law enforcers have been conducting drive since Monday night.

Earlier, law enforcers resumed their operation at the suspected militant hideout on Wednesday morning after overnight massive explosions and exchange of gunfire.

Mufti Mahmud Khan, RAB Director (Legal and Media), said they resumed the operation formally around 9:30am.

However, the law enforcers are yet to enter the militant den, said Mufti, adding they will know the casualties after entering the den.

Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque visited the spot in the morning.

Fire fighters rushed to the spot as a fire broke out in the hideout after the militants commenced a daring counterattack of bomb explosions and gunfire against the law enforcers on Tuesday night.

Witness said at least 5/6 sounds of explosions were heard from the den at about 9:45pm, followed by gunfire. The sound of exchanged hear after the explosion.

The militants started bullets exchange just like rain, witness said.

However, RAB media wing director Mufti Mahmud Khan declared the suspension of the drive at about 11:45pm. The RAB officials told the reporters, ‘we do not want to enter into the building in the darkness of night. We will resume our drive in next morning.’ However, the law enforcers cordoned off the building overnight.

Earlier, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) said the militants agreed to surrender in the evening.

‘Suspected militant Abdullah agreed to surrender along with his two wives, two children and two associates between 7:30pm and 8:00pm today,’ RAB Director (Legal and Media) Mufti Mahmud told a press conference in front of the building they kept cordoned off since 12:00am.

He said they earlier asked Abdullah to surrender when he sought time for taking the decision. ‘We gave him time. Few minutes before the dusk fell, he informed us that he’ll surrender along with his family members and associates,’ he said.

As per his commitment, Abdullah sent his wives and children to the balcony, Mufti added.

As part of the security arrangement, the law enforcers have already evacuated all the residents from the building and adjacent ones, he said. ‘We hope Abdullah will surrender as per his commitment. If he tries to take any other steps without surrender, we’re ready to prevent him,’ the RAB official said.

Abdullah’s mentally challenged sister Meherunnesa came out of the house.

RAB members cordoned off the house at about 12:00am suspecting it as a militant hideout.

Tipped off, a RAB team cordoned off the six-storey building on the south side of Martyred Intellectuals’ Graveyard, said Assistant Superintendent of Police Unu Mong, also operation officer of RAB-4.

Locals said they heard the sounds of bomb explosions and gunfight from the house.

Mufti Mahmud Khan said Abdullah, a suspected militant, is staying on the fourth floor of the building.

Earlier, police arrested two suspected militants conducting a drive in Tangail district. The arrested militants gave information about Abdullah, said the RAB official.

Locals also said that the building owned by Habibullah Bahar Azad has five flats on its each floor. The homeowner had been living on the second floor.

In a press briefing, RAB Director General Benazir Ahmed said militant Abdullah got involved in militancy in 2005 and he had been carrying out his activities under the cover of his business of IPS, UPS, fridges and refrigerators. He deposited huge acid, petroleum and explosives, said the RAB DG.

Benazir Ahmed said RAB members are trying to communicate with Abdullah, who is possessing improvised explosive device (IED), from 4:00am. His two wives, two children and two associates are also staying with him.

‘We’re also trying to arrest Abdullah along with his family members without any causality. We’ve requested him several times to surrender. He sought time for taking decision,’ added RAB DG.

Besides, Intelligence sources said Abdullah’s two children were Omar, 10 and two and half-year-old Osama.

Saqlain Russell, a presenter of a private TV channel My TV and a resident of the area, wrote on his Facebook account, ‘We [first] thought it was a transformer blast. But now it looks like it’s a bomb explosion. Our room soon got full of smoke while the glasses of the building adjacent to us have been shattered. RAB and police [members] have cordoned the area off. We’ve taken shelter between the flats in fear of a possible drive by law enforcers. We’re suspecting that something is happening in the next building. We’ve heard gunshots every now and then.’