After police cordoned off the Ashkona militant hideout in the wee hours on Saturday, Maynul Musa instructed his wife Trisha Moni to wear a suicide vest and blow up herself along with their four-month-old daughter instead of surrendering to police.
Trisha, however, did not carry out the instruction as her love for the baby stopped her from detonating the vest. So, she decided to surrender, according to her statement to the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) during interrogation, reports The Daily Star.
Musa took the helm of radical group “Neo JMB” as most of its top leaders died in anti-terror operations following the July 1 Gulshan café attack. The other top leaders are either arrested or under police surveillance, officials say.
The last time Musa visited the Ashkona flat on the ground floor of a three-storey building was on Tuesday when he brought bombs and grenades there. Two other militants who go by the name of Firoz and Selim in the organisation also used to visit the den.
The Star quoted a police source and said that a militant, aged around 18, managed to escape from the flat just before the operation.
Another woman, Jebunnahar Shila, widow of Major (retd) Jahid alias Murad, surrendered along with her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter and with a 9mm pistol and six bullets during the anti-militant operation codenamed “Ripple 24”.
According to CTTC officials, Trisha has expressed remorse for being within militant circle. But Shila has not.
During the operation, a militant named Shakira detonated her suicide vest while rushing to police with her four-year-old daughter Sabina in an apparent motive to blow herself up in the midst of policemen. She was, however, still a few steps away from the law enforcers.
Shakira was killed in the blast with part of her body badly damaged and Sabina suffered severe injuries. A police official was also wounded.
“Analysing our intelligence and information from the militants who surrendered, it seems that the woman [Shakira] could carry out suicide attacks with her daughter elsewhere [had she been alive],” CTTC unit chief Monirul Islam told reporters at Ashkona as a search was in progress in the den.
Shakira first married Iqbal, father of Sabina. After Iqbal died from cancer, she married Suman – a suspected militant missing for over a month.
Around 7:30pm yesterday, a police team left the spot with the body of deceased militant suspect, 14-year-old Afif Kaderi, for Dhaka Medical College morgue. Morgue sources said the body reached there around 11:30pm.
Afif, son of “Neo JMB” leader Tanvir Kaderi, who committed suicide during a raid at Azimpur on September 10, got killed around Saturday afternoon during the operation.
Rejecting the call for surrender, Afif opened fire at police, and the law enforcers retaliated by firing shots and gas grenades. Officials say the boy committed suicide or died in the police firing.
Monirul said the militants burnt Tk 12 lakh, a laptop, some mobile phones and documents. It seems that they were using the hideout as their office, he added.
During the search starting at 10:30am yesterday, bomb disposal unit of the CTTC recovered seven grenades, two suicide vests — one with six bombs and the other with four — and two unexploded bombs from the vest that Shakira detonated.
Two 9mm pistols with two live ammunition, and huge bomb-making materials were also found at the den. Officials later defused the grenades and bombs.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said Major (sacked) Syed Ziaul Haque and Nurul Islam Marzan, who had played vital roles in the Gulshan attack and targeted killings, will be arrested anytime. “They will be arrested anytime as they are always under our surveillance,” the minister said.
According to police, Zia, alleged military wing chief of the banned militant outfit Ansar al Islam, had a hand in the targeted killings and murders of bloggers.
Prothom Alo, meanwhile, quoted an International Labour Organisation report saying, around 40 per cent of the young people aged between 15 and 24 years in Bangladesh are ‘not in education, employment or training.’
The actual number of such youth, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics estimate suggests, would be 11.6 million as there are at present a total of 29 million youth of that age group in the country.
World Bank economist Zahid Hussain called this state as economic wastage which he feels may create social risks.
“Many of the youth cannot secure job opportunities, depending on their general education. It may be easier for the evils to derail this youth force,” World Bank economist Zahid Hussain said.