Dhaka – Two suspected female militants have surrendered as Bangladeshi security forces raided a hideout of a banned Islamist group in Dhaka’s Ashkona neighbourhood, police said on Saturday.
Three more suspected militants are staying inside the home despite the law enforcement calling them to surrender, said Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia.
“We are informed that the militants had stockpiled huge explosives inside the hideout. We are trying to make them surrender,” the city police boss said. The raid began in the early hours of the day.
One of the female militants surrendered is identified as Shila, wife of retired major Jahid who was killed in an earlier raid, while the other is wife of another terrorist Musa.
Musa is on the run.
They surrendered along with two children. The female suspects also deposited a pistol, six bullets and explosives.
“The suspects were taken to detective branch office in Dhaka and the process for interrogation has been started,” Mia said adding that the law enforcement agencies have been trying to negotiate a surrender of the militants staying inside the den.
Acting on tip-off, the lawmen cordoned off ,Surya Villa’ ,a three-storied building near Hajicamp at city’s Ashkona neighbourhood, said Monirul Islam, head of Bangladesh’s counter terrorism unit of police.
Members of Counter Terrorism and Transnational unit, elite force Rapid Action Battalion, Special Weapons and Tactics, and police launched the operation inside the den where the suspects had been holed up for months.
The officer said that the lawmen, using megaphone, asked the militants to surrender after they cordoned off the home. But, the militants fired their guns stead, prompting the cops to retaliate with bullets.
Ambulances and fire services officials were seen on the scene. The militants are believed to be belonged to the banned militant group Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
Residents of the other apartments of the building have been evacuated to run the drive safely, said Islam adding that the suspects declared initially that they would resist any raid with the powerful grenades as they were carrying them with their bodies.
The female militants and the children surrendered about at 9:30 am after the lawmen told them to come out from the building using megaphones.
The militant group was banned in 2005 after it carried out a number of attacks on public offices. The group was blamed for the deadly July 1 attack on a restaurant in Dhaka that left 20 civilians, mostly foreign nationals, dead.
Two security personnel and six militants were also killed when army commandos stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan diplomatic area to rescue the hostages.
Police have killed at least 40 suspected militants, including a Bangladeshi-born Canadian man, in the last five months as part of counter-terrorism raids launched after the cafe attack.