Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Three ‘militants’ die in RAB raid on terror hideout in Dhaka’s Nakhalpara

  • Senior Correspondent bdnews24.com
    Published: 2018-01-12 09:44:31 BdST

bdnews24

Three suspected militants died in a predawn raid on a six-storey building in Dhaka’s Nakhalpara, the Rapid Action Battalion or RAB has said.

Around 2am Friday, the RAB sealed off area near the building ‘Ruby Villa’, a few hundred yards from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The raid prompted gunfire early in the morning, according to the RAB.

Major Mehdi Hasan, a deputy director of the elite police unit, said grenades were hurled at RAB members from the fifth-floor flat where the suspects were holed up.

RAB spokesperson Mufti Mahmud Khan briefed the media near the scene.

“The fourth floor of the building was raided on intelligence inputs on militants hiding in the area. A shootout erupted with the suspects,” he said adding that grenades were hurled at their men.

Soon after Khan’s briefing,  the RAB’s bomb disposal unit arrived at the scene.

In a media briefing around 10am, RAB Director General Benazir Ahmed said a handgun, explosives and two IEDs (improvised explosive devices) were found inside the apartment used by the suspects.

Aged between 20 and 30 years old, the terror suspects were found dead inside a room of one of the two flats on the fourth floor, RAB Director General Ahmed said.

“One of them was wearing a suicide vest. An IED has been spotted under one of the bodies. It seems they were aiming for a large-scale explosion as another IED was found on the gas-stove in the kitchen.”

He said two national IDs, with the same picture but different names ,were found in the room with bodies. “One of them says Jahid, the other one Shajib. We will look into whether they are fake.”

According to RAB, the tenants moved in the flat on Jan 4.

RAB spokesperson Khan later told the media that seven people lived in the three-room flat. “The three bodies were found in one of the rooms. The four others from the rest of the rooms have been evacuated.”

Replying to a query, he said that the six-storey building has ten flats—two each on the five floors and the ground floor is used as the garage. The gas supply to the building was disconnected before the RAB moved in.

The 61 residents of the nine other flats have been taken to the landlord’s flat in the first-floor and being questioned by law enforcers for information on the terror suspects, added senior RAB official Khan.

Local resident Adbul Barek, who works at a nearby butcher shop, said the building’s owner was one Sabbir Rahman and described the family as ‘not so social’.

He said that a caretaker was responsible for the building’s maintenance.

Badrul, who lives in a building adjacent to Ruby Villa, told bdnews24.com that heavy gunfire was being heard just before dawn and that they heard people running outside.

The 35-year-old says the building was constructed some 15 years ago by Rahman, who they heard was a steward at the Biman Bangladesh airlines.

A RAB member, who took part in the raid, said that the caretaker Rubel has been detained. The landlord is yet to be traced, but his son was in their custody, he added.

Gazipur resident Kamal Hossain, who was standing just outside the security cordon, claimed his son Parvez lived in one of the flats of the fifth-floor of Ruby Villa.

He said his son called them over phone around 4am, saying their flat’s entrance was locked from the outside and that heavy firing was being heard.

Hossain said he rushed to Dhaka after receiving the phone call, but was yet to meet his son.

“The last time, I spoke with him was around 7:30am, when he said he was fine. But his phone is switched-off since 8am. The RAB won’t let anyone in,” he told bdnews24.com.

RAB officials said that no-one will be allowed in the building until the bodies are removed after the crime scene investigators and forensic experts finish their jobs.