Three suspected members of banned extremist outfit Jammatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh were killed in a raid by Rapid Action Battalion on an ‘extremist den’ at West Nakhalpara in the capital early Friday.
The den on the fourth floor of a six-storey building, Rubi Villa, owned by a Bangladesh Biman official, is also close to Parliament Members’ Bhaban and within about 200 metres from the prime minister’s office.
The three, all aged between 25 and 27, could not be identified until Friday night.
RAB, however, said they found two documents of national identity cards having same photo but different
names – Jahid and Sajib.
The three – one of whom identifying himself as Jahid took a room of the fourth-floor flat on rent on January 4 and two others came to the room on January 8 – had been sharing the three-room flat as a dormitory with four others.
The whole building has 10 flats, each having three rooms and a kitchen, where 60 other inmates had been living.
The elite force director (legal and media wing), Mufti Mahmud Khan, on primary completion of the raid around 2:00pm in a briefing near the spot said that they began the raid around 2:00am.
He said that they entered the building breaking open its entrance and talking to the dormitory manager, Rubel, became sure of the presence of three JMB operatives in a room.
They evacuated 60 inmates safely and, with the help of a dormitory member, opened the fourth-floor flat.
Later, he said, the elite force members asked the extremist suspects to open the door of the room but, the suspects hurled an improvised explosive device and opened fire targeting RAB personnel who retaliated by firing.
He said that as there was no response from inside, they entered into the room and found three bodies.
The RAB director said they also found explosives, some IEDs, two firearms and three suicidal vests in the room.
He said that the extremists had tried to blow the house by exploding an IED by keeping it on a burning oven. ‘Sensing it, we disconnected the gas line and foiled their evil plan.’
Mufti said that the extremists had a plan to ‘attack any important installation.’
He, referring to other inmates of the dormitory, said the suspect namely Jahid used to leave the room early in the morning and return late at night and the other two used to stay in the room.
Jahid took the room saying that he was a private firm staff and the two others were his brothers, he said, quoting Rubel.
The RAB officials said that the extremists might be killed during the exchange of fire while two members of the elite force were also injured.
Later, RAB’s bomb disposal unit, dog squad and forensic department as well as crime scene unit of Criminal Investigation Department worked to collect evidence.
Mufti said they had earlier conducted raids at the same Rubi Villa twice and arrested suspected extremists.
He, however, immediately could not say about the updates of the arrestees.
RAB said they completed the raid around 4:00pm immediately after the bodies of the three suspected extremists were brought out from the flat and sent to Suhrawardi Medical College Hospital Morgue for post-mortem examination.
Mufti said that they had interrogated the house owner, Shah Mohammad Sabbir Hossain, 55, who was in a flight during the raid and Rubel.
They said that five people, including the dormitory manager, were taken into RAB custody for interrogation.
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