Four militants of the banned Neo-JMB terror outfit on Sunday surrendered to Bangladesh’s elite anti-terrorism force after a gunfight with security personnel on the outskirts of the capital city. The team of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), which draws personnel from military and police forces, surrounded the tin-shed house in suburban Savar around 1 AM last night after a tip-off that militants were holed up inside the building.
The militants were ordered to surrender, but they started indiscriminate firing, triggering a heavy exchange of gunfire with security forces, operation chief RAB-4 Commanding Officer Additional DIG Lutful Kabir said. “All the four militants who were inside finally gave up and none else are there inside… our bomb disposal unit are now examining the house,” a spokesman of RAB told PTI.
The militants inside the house fired five rounds of shots when they became aware of the RAB presence, Kabir said. “We asked the militants to surrender using our megaphones, but instead they hurled abuse at the law enforcers and started firing,” he said.
One of the four terrorists first came out and surrendered after which three others followed suit an hour later. “Their surrender came as using megaphones we told them if they do not surrender by 1 PM, we will launch the assault with all our force,” the spokesperson said.
Witnesses said that officials had evacuated people in the neighbourhood to evade casualties as the militants responded with abusive language and opened fire and hurled homemade bombs on RAB personnel.
RAB officials earlier said that they had been searching for militants in the area for the last a few days on the basis of a secret tip-off and cordoned off the militants’ den. Owner of the building Ibrahim was detained. RAB officials said that a man named Azad, who identified himself as a garment worker, had rented the house two months ago. The Neo-JMB is said to be inclined to the ISIS terror group.
The raid was part of an intensified crackdown on militants following the last year’ Dhaka cafe attack in which 22 people, mostly foreigners and an Indian girl, were killed.