Ambush frees JMB convicts

February 24, 2014

Policeman killed; one of 3 snatched convicts arrested
In an apparent well-planned move, a gun-totting gang ambushed a prison van at Trishal on the Dhaka –Mymensingh Highway in broad day light and managed to free three high-profile convicted members of banned militant outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) on Sunday. A policeman was killed during the attack. Police however arrested one of the three convicts five hours after the surprise attack.
Police and witnesses said the gunmen opened fire and blasted bombs at around 10:15am at Trishal upazila on Dhaka-Mymensingh highway before they freed their apparent colleagues Salahuddin alias Salehin, JMB in charge of Sylhet-Mymensingh region, Mohammad Rakib Hasan Russell alias Hafez Mahmud, Khulna divisional commander of JMB, and Jahidul Islam alias ‘Boma’ Mizan, an explosive expert of the outlawed group.
The convicts were being taken to a Mymensingh court in connection with a sedition case from Kashimpur jail in Gazipur. Of the three, two were sentenced to death while the other was sentenced life imprisonment.
Police however managed to arrest Hafez Rakib Hasan Russel, one of the three snatched convicts, was arrested from Sakhipur under Tangail district
at 4pm.
The law enforcers arrested him from Taktarchala under Sakhipur Upazila in Tangail district during a combing operation, confirmed Moklesur Rahman, the officer-in-charge of Sakhipur Police Station.
The slain police constable was identified as Atiqul Islam. The ambush by 25-30 gunmen also injured two other policemen — Sohel Rana and Habib. Both of them were admitted to Mymensingh Medical College Hospital with several bullet injuries.
The gunmen took the key from the law enforcers, opened the door of the prison van and took away the three JMB convicts, said Habibur Rahman, sub-inspector of Trishal police station. The criminals left the scene in a microbus, said another official.
Police recovered two used bullets and one live bullet from the spot. The 7.65mm bullets are used in sophisticated pistol, said Habibur Rahman.
After the incident, the authorities sent an alarm across the country and law enforcers mounted vigilance in surrounding districts, police said, adding that the law enforcers were conducting combing operation in different areas of Mymensingh and Tangail.
Earlier, another person named Zakaria Hossain was arrested in the drive suspecting his involvement with the snatching. Zakaria Hossain is an active member of JMB and was the driver of the microbus. He was detained with a pistol, five live bullets and 10 homemade bombs around 11:00am.
Tangail Additional Superintendent of Police Hasibul Alam described Zakaria as the mastermind behind the attack and said that locals had caught Zakaria as he was trying to flee after changing his dress.
Law enforcers also seized a black microbus (Dhaka Metro CHA-11-6048) in Shakhipur Upazila of Tangail, which was suspected to be involved with the snatching.
Another individual, Rayhan, was also arrested in this connection.
Meanwhile, the home ministry on Sunday formed a high-powered a
four-member inquiry committee headed by its additional secretary Nazimuddin Chowdhury to inquire the incident of snatching away of three JMB leaders from a prison van in Trishal under Mymensingh district on Sunday morning. Other members of the committee are: Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police (Dhaka range) SM Mahfuzul Haque Nurizzaman, DIG of police headquarters Tipu Sultan and deputy secretary of home ministry Khairul Kabir Menon.
The Police Headquarters constituted another three-member committee led by Deputy Inspector General (Current Charge) of Criminal I Investigation Department (CID) Syful Alam. The two other members of the committee are — Additional DIG (Dhaka Range) Khondoker Golam Faruk and AIG (Crime-East) of Police Headquarters Md Abdul Alim Mahmud. Both the committees were asked to submit their inquiry reports with recommendations within three working days. The police have announced Tk 200,000 as bounty for each of the three leaders of Jam’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). When contacted, state minister for home affairs Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said there must have been something behind the incident and inquiries were already underway.
“We will be able to know as to what has happened after the completion of the inquiries,” he said. Asked if there was a security lapse as only three policemen were accompanying the convicts, the state minister said, “This is the way prisoners are generally transported.”
Meanwhile, Reserve Inspector of Police Saidul Karim and force Subedar Abdul Quader of Gazipur were punished for neglect of duty in providing inadequate forces to escort the JMB prisoners to Mymensingh for their court appearance in a case related to bombings of cinemas in 2005. Gazipur district police sources said RI Saidul Karim was withdrawn and attached to the police line. Force Subedar Abdul Quader was put on suspension.
Our Gazipur correspondent reports that police recovered the white microbus used for snatching the JMB convicts. The vehicle was left abandoned near the Kazi Nazrul Islam University at Trishal. Police also recovered a pair of fretters and cutter machine from the microbus.
Meanwhile, Shapna, wife of Zakaria, was held by police last night. She was picked up from her house in Tongi’s Sataish area. Police seized a large number of Jihadi books, a laptop, modem and a pen-drive, said Ismail Hossain, officer-in-charge of Tongi Model Police Station.
(Correspondents from Mymensingh, Tangail and Gazipur contributed to the report)

Courtesy of The Independent

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