In filmy style, a large group of miscreants intercepted a prison van, opened fire on police, killing a constable, and snatched away three including two death row activists of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in Trishal upazila of Mymensingh this morning.
Around 3:00pm, the law enforcers picked up a person during a combing operation at Taktarchala in Tangail. The officials suspect that he might be Rakib Hasan Russell, one of the three snatched JMB men.
Around 45 minutes after the incident, police seized a black microbus (Dhaka Metro CHA-11-6048) in Shakhipur Upazila of Tangail, which was suspected to be involved with the snatching.
Zakaria Hossain, 29, who is an active member of JMB was the driver of the microbus. He was detained with a pistol, five live bullets and 10 bombs around 11:00am, Tangail Additional Superintendent of Police Hasibul Alam told The Daily Star. Zakaria was the mastermind behing the attack, he added.
Locals caught Zakaria as he was trying to flee after changing his clothes. He offered the locals taka 12,000 so that they would let him go, the Additional Superintendent added.
Locals caught Zakaria, from Gomostapur upazila in Chapainawabganj, after his microbus crashed into a CNG-run auto-rickshaw during his attempt to avoid a police check post setup following the incident.
Around two hours later, police detained two more people from Shakhipur suspecting their involvement with the attack, said Mokhlesur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Shakhipur Police Station.
The law enforcers rounded up Nurul Islam Raihan, 35, of Alachpur of Muktagacha in Mymensingh, and Md Rasel, 30, of Kaliakoir upazila in Gazipur, during a combing operation at Taktarchala, our Tangail correspondent reported quoting the official.
The snatched condemned convicts are: Salahuddin alias Salehin, JMB in-charge of Sylhet-Mymensingh region; Mohammad Rakib Hasan Russell alias Hafez Mahmud, Khulna divisional commander of JMB; and Jahidul Islam alias 'Boma' Mizan, an explosives expert of the outlawed group.
The deceased policeman, Atiqul Islam, was posted at Gazipur Police Station, reports our Mymensingh correspondent quoting local police control room.
ATTACK IN FILMY STYLE
The three JMB activists were scheduled to be produced before a court in Mymensingh in connection with a sedition case.
Salahuddin, Mizan and Russell were kept at three different jails in Kashimpur: Jail-1 and Jail-2 and High Security Jail respectively.
They were picked up between 8:30am to 9:00am, Jamil Ahmed, superintendent of the jail-1, told our Gazipur correspondent.
When the prison van reached Signboard area in Trishal around 10:15am, around 25 to 30 miscreants coming in two microbuses intercepted the van.
"They first tried to intercept our prison van with a truck. As we removed it, there was a microbus," Subedar Habib, who was injured in the attack, told reporters at Mymensingh Medical College Hospital (MMCH).
At least 10/15 masked men jumped out from the microbus and opened fire on the prison van, said Habib.
"A bullet pierced through the windshield and hit me in the abdomen," he added.
The attackers blasted several bombs.
"They were firing bullets indiscriminately," said constable Sohel Rana, who was hit in the hand.
Badly shot, constable Atiqul Islam died on the spot.
The miscreants took the key from the law enforcers, opened the door of the prison van and took away the three JMB convicts.
The criminals left the scene in a microbus, said Firoz Talukder, officer-in-charge of Trishal Police Station.
Injured Subedar Habib and constable Sohel Rana were rushed to MMCH.
ESCAPING TOWARDS TANGAIL?
As the authorities sent an alarm across the country after the snatching in Mymensingh, law enforcers mounted vigilance in surrounding districts.
A black microbus, while speeding away in Proshika area in Shakhipur Sadar upazila town, hit a three-wheeler around 11:00am.
After locals saw the driver trying to flee after a change of clothing, they caught him and handed him over to the police.
Searching the vehicle, police found a pistol, five bullets, 5 homemade bombs and a hand-cuff cutter.
The law enforcers were conducting combing operation in different jungle areas of Tangail, our correspondent reported.
Home ministry has formed a four-member probe committee with Nazim Uddain Chowdhury, additional secretary of the ministry, as its chief to investigate the incident.
The committee has been asked to submit its report in three-working days, sources at the home ministry said.
The committee will also investigate whether adequate security measures had been taken maintaining the jail code when the condemned prisoners were taken to Mymensingh from Gazipur Jail.