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Security forces wrap up weeklong bloody anti-militancy clampdown


Live Correspondent: The country today visibly wrapped up more than a week’s of bloody anti-militancy clampdown at a stretch that saw 22 deaths with police announcing the end of the latest security assault in Mounvilabazar when three militants, one being a woman, were killed.

“We found three bodies including that of a woman as we entered their den today” at Moulvibazar’s Barohat area, police’s counter terrorism and transnational crimes (CTTC) unit chief Monirul Islam told newsmen at the end of the two-day “Operation Maximums” at the 2nd Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (Neo-JMB) den in the northeastern town.

He added: “Our intension was to capture them alive and therefore we repeatedly called them to surrender but they defied . . . launched counter attacks throwing grenades and blasting bombs whenever we tried to approach them”.

Police’s elite Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) launched the second raid a day after wrapping up their “Operation Hit Back” at another den nearby when all eight of a militant family blew themselves up in a suicide blast amid the security siege.

The country in the past seven days witnessed four major anti-militancy assaults against Neo-JMB when seven people including an army lieutenant colonel and two police inspectors lost their lives while 15 militants and their minor children, mostly in suicide blasts, were killed.

In all the hideouts, the militants visibly lived as ordinary talents, while local residents said they had little idea about the extremists’ identity as they tried to evade interactions with neighbours.

The first security assault was launched on March 23 in Sylhet where army commandos took the lead and killed four extremists including Neo-JMB chief Musa during a five-day security siege which military called “Operation Twilight”.

As the siege in Sylhet was underway, fellow militants from outside launched two retaliatory clandestine attacks, killing six people including the two policemen instantly and wounding 50 others near the scene.

The army officer, serving as the intelligence wing chief of elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), succumbed to his wounds two days ago.

A day after the end of the Operation Twilight, led by a major general, police simultaneously raided three other neo-JMB hideouts, two being in neighbouring Moulvibazar and one in Kotbari on the outskirts of Comilla town.

Police’s Operation Hit Back saw two militant couples blowing themselves up along with four minor children, staging a suicide explosion at their den at Nasirnagar, on the outskirts of Moulvibazar town.

Police said the suicide blast was so severe that it tore into pieces the dead, making it difficult to ascertain exactly how many people were inside.

“The forensic examinations could confirm the exact casualty figure (though) we assume they are seven or eight in number,” Monirul Islam said at that time.

In Comilla, after three days of security siege, police found the den to be a big cache of explosives stored by the militants but none was found there to be encountered as the militants visibly fled the scene ahead of the clampdown.

Dhaka, 01 April, ( //AM

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