Bangladesh law enforcers looking for 200 militants

by IANS |

Dhaka, Nov 19 (IANS) Law enforcers in Bangladesh are looking for 200 militants, including six kingpins of banned outfits Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Hizb ut-Tahrir.

The development comes after seven militants, including the son of Jamaat-e-Islam chief and three KNF members were arrested along with weapons in a joint operation recently.

The hunt has been launched after the country witnessed a sudden and unusual spike in the activities of the militant organisations.

The banned outfits are reportedly making blueprints secretly to carry out subversive acts in the country, according to sources.

The blueprints came to light recently after confessional statements given by several militants arrested from different parts of the country, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) officials said.

Anti Terrorism Unit (ATU) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has also sought the public's help to arrest the six suspected Hizb ut-Tahrir kingpins.

Earlier this week, the ATU published photographs of the militant leaders, accused in cases filed with Gulshan Police Station in Dhaka under the Anti-Terrorism Act and Digital Security Act, requesting information that may lead to their arrest.

According to the notice, the informants' identity will not be disclosed, which also said a mobile phone app, Inform ATU, can be used to provide information without revealing one's identity.

Earlier, law enforcers also published the photographs of some top militant kingpins declaring bounty of lakhs of taka.

But in most cases, the law enforcers were unable to catch them. Among them, sacked Major Zia remains still fugitive. Police said they are unable to trace his whereabouts.

Meanwhile, the DMP has also released pictures of two key militant organisers and four members of banned Islamist outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), suspects for the militant attacks and murder of bloggers, and announced bounties on them.

In the wake of the recent massive anti-militant crackdown by law enforcers, these militants have reportedly gone into hiding.

Detective sources said they launched a massive hunt in different remote and inaccessible areas of the hilly regions in the country to nab the militants and their kingpins.

Most of the militants have left their homes and taken shelter in those isolated hilly areas, sources said.

With a view to avoiding arrest, the militants have taken such hilly regions for arms training, RAB said.

According to the elite force, over 50 militants from different parts of the country are now undergoing training in several training camps of Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF) in remote areas of Bandarban and Rangamati.

Earlier, RAB revealed the names of 38 militants in a press conference in Dhaka on October 10.

After confirming the information, the joint forces started operations in Barathali union of Bilaichhari upazila in Rangamati and Rowanchhari and Ruma upazilas of Bandarban.

While one of their hideouts was destroyed in the operation, there are many more hidden hideouts.

On October 17, the government announced a ban on tourists travelling to the country's mountainous region bordering India and Myanmar after launching the anti-militancy operation.

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