Although six months have passed since two suspected militants were killed during a drive by Rapid Action Battalion (Rab-7) at a hideout in Mirsarai upazila of Chattogram, investigators are yet to ascertain whether they belonged to a faction of Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) -- as originally claimed by the elite force.
Identities of the two who died in a supposed “suicide blast” during the drive on October 5 last year, have not been confirmed either.
Commander Mufti Mahmud Khan, director of legal and media wing of Rab had said after the drive that the “active operatives” of the banned outfit were plotting to attack Chattogram court building, one of the administrative hubs of the port city.
Rab-7 Deputy Assistant Director Azad filed two cases after the incident.
“We are not sure yet whether they were JMB operatives, as the plaintiff did not mention the name of any militant organisation in the case statements,” said the case’s investigation officer (IO) Inspector Mozammel Hossain of Jorarganj Police Station.
Talking to The Daily Star, Additional Superintendent of Police (North) of Chattogram Moshiuddowla Reza said, “Our investigation is going on… however, we are yet to confirm identities of the militants.”
IO Mozammel said, “Despite several requests and queries to the plaintiff and others involved with the drive, they did not present any specific information in this regard.”
Contacted, Rab-7’s Deputy Director Squadron Leader Safayat Jamil Fahim, who spotted the hideout, said “Rab tried to confirm the identities of the dead militants but failed.”
About the plot of “militants”, the Rab official said they were investigating the information learned from the hideout, but did not give any further details.
Asked why JMB’s name was not mentioned in the case statement, he tactfully evaded the question.
Regarding the progress of the probe, IO Mozammel said, “Police sent fingerprints of the two suspects to Election Commission office to match with the NID database, but those did not match with anyone.”
“Apart from that, we collected DNA samples and profiles but it wasn’t of any use, as no one claimed the bodies,” the IO said.
He also said he sent the firearms recovered in the drive to Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for ballistic examination, the report of which said shots were fired from the guns during the incident.
Preferring anonymity, an officer of Counter-Terrorism (CT) unit of Chattogram Metropolitan Police (CMP) said they did not have much information about the incident, as Rab conducted the drive and did not take any support from CT. He, however, said they have collected some information from their sources.
Officials of CT declined requests for official comments in this regard.
Two alleged militants, aged between 28 and 35, were killed in a blast inside a tin-shed building at Uttar Sonapahar area just beside the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway under Jorarganj Police Station, after a gunfight with Rab personnel.
After the incident, Rab officials said the hideout was set up by the operatives of banned militant outfit JMB. They found two male bodies, both torn apart, and CID officials suspected it to be suicide blasts.
An AK-22 rifle, three foreign-made pistols, five improvised explosive devices, and huge amount of raw materials used for making bombs were seized from the spot.