The gunmen who shot dead five people by ambushing a motorcade in Rangamati's Naniarchar on Friday had come in two groups for the attack, said investigators and other sources in police.
And they knew which vehicle was carrying Tapan Jyoti Chakma alias Borma, president of UPDF (Democratic), added the sources.
The shooting lasted five minutes targeting Tapan's microbus that was leading the convoy, said a survivor named Orchin Chakma, who was with the organisation leader on that vehicle.
Talking to this newspaper, he mentioned that they had set out for Hugurmara of Naniarchar in four jeeps, two buses and two microbuses to attend the funeral of slain upazila parishad chairman Shaktiman Chakma.
The killing of Tapan and four others, including a Bangalee driver, came just a day after the attack on Shaktiman. No case was filed in these connections as of last night and no arrest made.
Rangamati SP Md Alamgir Kabir, however, said, “We have a primary sketch of the incident and got information about the killers.”
He did not go into details for the sake of investigation.
Additional SP Md Jahangir Hossen, said, “Visiting the place of occurrence, police came to know that a number of armed attackers carried out the shooting in a preplanned way.”
Investigators have got some information about the attackers and drives are on to arrest them, he added.
Amid ongoing tensions, the Parbatya Bangalee Chhatra Parishad has called a 72-hour strike across Khagrachhari district from today protesting the killing of Md Sajib, the microbus driver. They also called strikes for Monday and Tuesday in Rangamati.
Following the two attacks in broad daylight, panic gripped people of Naniarchar, which is 45km off Rangamati town.
Visiting the area yesterday, the presence of locals was found to be very thin in public places. No local transport was seen on roads while shops were shut, and army personnel and police were patrolling different parts of the upazila.
SM Moriuzzaman, deputy inspector general of Chittagong Range, visited the spot and held meetings with the officials of local administration and police of Rangamati and Khagrachhari.
Talking to The Daily Star, Orchin Chakma, who was undergoing treatment at Chittagong Medical College Hospital, alleged that the attack was carried out by members of UPDF.
UPDF (Democratic) is a breakaway faction from the United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF), a political party of hill people opposing the CHT Peace Accord of 1997.
Shaktiman Chakma was also a vice president of PCJSS-MN Larma, a group which, according to sources, recently formed an alliance with the UPDF (Democratic).
UPDF men had warned them not to participate in the funeral of Shaktiman, said 28-year-old Orchin, who is a supporter of PCJSS-MN Larma, yesterday afternoon.
He said they had started from Mohalchhari under Khagrachhari for Hugurmara and come under attack while crossing Betchhari, an area dominated by UPDF.
The way the attack was carried out appeared that it was to assassinate Tapan, added Orchin, who suffered bullet injuries in right hand and legs.
The shooting left seven injured and no one from other vehicles were reportedly hurt or killed.
The UPDF leaders, however, blamed the “vested quarters in the government and law enforcers” for the incident.
Expressing concern over the present situation in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, they demanded punishment for the killings of the upazila chairman and other five.
They also called upon the PCJSS-MN Larma to work with the UPDF for the greater interest of the indigenous community.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council called upon all political parties of the CHT to play a united role to stop clashes in the hills.
BODIES HANDED TO FAMILIES
The administration yesterday handed over the bodies of the five to their families after autopsy at Khagrachhari Sadar Hospital.
A hospital source said all of them died of bullet injures.
Of the five, Tapan Jyoti Chakma, 50, alias Borma; Sujon Chakma, 28, general secretary of Mohalchhari unit Pahari Chhatra Parishad (PCP), and Pronok Chakma, 23, a member of Jubo Samiti, died on the spot.
Setu Chakma, 30, another member of Jubo Samiti, and driver Md Sajit, 32, died on their way to hospital, local sources say.
Also yesterday, Obaidul Quader, the road transport and bridges minister, alleged that the BNP was involved with the recent bloodshed in the hill tracts.
“BNP tried to get involved in quota reform movement but failed. Now they became involved in bloodshed in the hill tracts. We have to unite to tackle this,” said the minister during a programme at Chittagong Ladies Club.
In the capital, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said the government would find out troublemakers in the CHT.
"Those who are involved in the killing of the upazila chairman and five others and wanted to destroy peace in the area will not be spared. They will be nabbed," he told newsmen in response to a question after a programme at Bangla Academy.
[Reporters from our Chittagong bureau, and Khagrachhari and Rangamati correspondents contributed to the report]