It was around 2:00 in the morning. Three Ansar members, including the camp commander, were on duty inside the Rohingya refugee camp at Nayapara in Teknaf. Six other Ansar men were sleeping in the barracks after the day's duty.
All of a sudden, some 25 to 30 “robbers” attacked the camp. The gang members, all wearing shorts and helmets, took the three on-duty Ansar men hostage, shot the camp commander, snatched the keys of the armoury from him and looted 11 arms from it yesterday.
Victim Ali Hossain, 45, died on the spot, police said.
The looted arms and ammunition are: four M2 rifles, two SMGs and five Chinese rifles and 670 bullets, said Sub-inspector Abul Hashem, also in-charge of the police camp there.
Security was beefed up in and around the camp after the incident.
Ansar member Ajit Barua, who was on duty at the time, said the gang came from the west side hill of Nayapara. Soon, the gang trapped them before taking the keys of the armoury to loot weapons.
Bullet-hit Ali Hossain was rushed to the hospital inside the camp, but doctors said he was already dead.
Md Yunus, former vice-chairman of Teknaf upazila and also vice-president of the upazila Awami League, said the camp had no boundary walls. As a result, outsiders frequent the camp all the time.
According to him, the possible involvement of militants belonging to the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation based in Arakan of Myanmar in the incident cannot be ruled out.
Camp in-charge Shahedul Islam admitted that the camp was unprotected and that there was no boundary wall.
But it is too early to say if militant groups or any other quarters are behind the attack, said Shahedul, also a senior assistant secretary.
He added an investigation was underway to determine the motive and find out the culprits.
Senior officials of the local administration, including the deputy commissioner and the police superintendent, visited the camp yesterday.
Shafiqul Islam, deputy inspector general of Chittagong Range Police, suspected Rohingyas were behind the attack as the attackers were speaking in the language used by the Rohingya community.
"We have got some names and are working on those," he told the BBC Bangla service.
He suspected the looted weapons would be used in criminal activities.
Maj Gen Mizanur Rahman Khan, director general of Ansar and VDP, told The Daily Star that an operation was underway to arrest the attackers since yesterday morning.
Rohingya Refugee Repatriation office sources said 19,000 registered Rohingya people are living in the camp, set up in 1991 on the forest department land near Cox's Bazar-Teknaf highway adjacent to the Naf river.
Locals say relatives of the refugees often cross the river from Myanmar side and take shelter in the camp.
Meanwhile, Ali Hossain's death cast a pall of gloom over his house in Shakhipur of Tangail, reports our correspondent there.
“My father was so happy to hear my SSC results [published on Wednesday] and he told me he would come home as soon as possible. He is coming home, but dead,” said his daughter Soma Akter.