Five militants from banned groups in Bangladesh have been killed during security raids on their hideouts in the country’s restive east.
Four suspected members of the Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) militant groups were killed in a police raid on their hideout outside the port city of Chittagong on Thursday. Two of them were killed when they blew themselves up to avoid arrest.
The militants opened fire at police and hurled grenades before ultimately blowing themselves up to avoid arrest.
“They came out in the stairs and carried out a big explosion. Parts of their bodies were spread to 25-30 meters,” said Sanwar Hossain, a deputy commissioner of the police counter-terrorism unit. “Two people including a woman are confirmed dead.”
Police sources said an officer was wounded by a grenade during the raid.
A fifth militant, from the banned Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami group, died in a separate raid in an eastern border town.
A day earlier, Bangladeshi police, backed up by an elite security unit, had arrested a couple for being linked to the militant group after storming their hideout in the same area.
“We arrested them as the wife was holding her three-month old child in one hand and tried to explode the suicide vest with the other. Our bomb disposal unit later defused the vest,” said Mosiuddowla Reza, the superintendent of local police.
He added that the two were JMB members.
Although many of the terror attacks conducted by local extremist groups in Bangladesh in the past year have been claimed by the Daesh and al-Qaeda terrorist groups, the government of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says local radical outfits, particularly the JMB, have also been responsible.
The militant group is blamed for a series of deadly attacks, including a café siege in Dhaka last July, when 22 people, including 18 foreign hostages, were killed.
Since the bloody café attack in Dhaka, local security forces have been staging a massive crackdown on radical groups, killing nearly 50 suspected militants, including what they have identified as the founders of a new JMB faction.