12:01 AM, May 24, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Feni attackers came in three groups

Feni attackers came in three groups

Witnesses tell how they executed killing and fled; 2 suspects held
Rashidul Hasan and Partha Pratim Bhattacharjee, back from Feni

Three groups, at least 10 in each, took position on the Academy Road in Feni sadar around 10:50am on Tuesday. Equipped with firearms, knives, machetes, stones and homemade bombs, they were on a mission kill.
Their informers had already told them that Ekramul Haq, chairman of Phulgazi upazila, left the district Diabetic Hospital and was on his way to Phulgazi.
Group one, which was about 50 feet from the Academy School, was the first to open fire and throw stones and bricks at Ekram's Prado SUV that was passing them. The group's job was to force the car to lose control.
As the driver was struggling to control the vehicle, the second group swung into action. Some of the attackers pushed a pickup first and then a trolley of a tractor to block its way. When the SUV hit the road divider, the armed men broke its windshields and shot Ekramul in the chest and stabbed in the stomach, according to eyewitnesses.
Ekram and one of his aides had two firearms with them, but overwhelmed by the scale and the suddenness of the attack, they could not use those to any effect. They could manage to fire only one shot, police said.    
The attackers then spread gunpowder on Ekram's body and set him ablaze to ensure his death.
His driver and four associates, who too were stabbed and beat up, managed to come out of the car.
The operation took 5-10 minutes, and all the while the first and the third groups kept firing to the air and exploding bombs to create panic in the area.
The three groups left the scene through three roads -- Moqbul Ahmed Sarak, Afzalur Rahman Sarak and a lane that leads to Banani Para.
“When I saw those small groups standing along the road, I stopped for a while. But then I thought they might bring out a procession," said a man, who lives in Feni sadar.
“But then I heard gunshots and bomb explosions," he added, asking not to be named.
Another eyewitness said he recognised eight of the attackers. They are Alauddin from Noabad, Ruti Sohel, Abir, and Nati Arif from Birinchi, Jahid and Abul Hossain Jahangir from Gozaria Kandi and Saiful Islam and Tofail Ahmed from Debipur.
They are known as followers of local Awami League lawmaker Nizam Hazari. They went into hiding after the murder.  
As more and more eyewitnesses are identifying more and more attackers, it is becoming increasingly clear that cadres loyal to Nizam were behind the murder.
Earlier, locals told The Daily Star that they knew at least four of the assailants.
One of the four, Abir, is Nizam's cousin. The three others are Jahidul Islam Jahid, joint secretary of Phulgazi AL, Ziaul Haq Mister, a Jubo League leader of Feni municipality, and Ruti Sohel, a local cadre.
Asked if his men were involved, Nizam yesterday said, "Those involved in the killing are murderers. It does not matter if they are my relatives or party men. I want their trial. Even I myself shall be liable, should my involvement in the murder be proved."
Meanwhile, police on Thursday night detained two more people from Feni sadar in connection with the killing. They are Alauddin and Anwar Hossain.
Earlier, police arrested Iqbal, brother of Ruti Sohel, and Shakhawat. The two are locally known as Awami League activist.



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