Residents get panicked during raid on militant den

Dhaka,  Sat,  25 March 2017
Published : 17 Mar 2017, 10:46:06 | Updated : 17 Mar 2017, 11:07:31
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How panic gripped residents during deadly drive ending raid on Chittagong militant den

They spent the night in anxiety that turned into panic during blasts and gunshots rocking Premtala in Chittagong's Sitakunda. 

When the 20 residents of 'Chhayaneer', the house raided by the law enforcers, were evacuated early in the morning on Thursday, a vacant look was clear in their eyes.

Those residing in the entire area were anxious during the 19-hour raid.

SWAT members cut the window grills to take out Hasina Begum, 65, and the other members of her family from the first floor of the two-storey house after the drive.

Before being taken to the hospital after the evacuation, she said, "I didn't think I could survive the shooting overnight. But by the grace of Almighty, we all could come out safely."

Four suspects, three male and one female, were killed. Two died in a suicide blast and the remaining two were shot dead by police, reports bdnews24.com.

The body of a child was also found later. The 6-year-old was believed to be killed in the suicide blast.

Police's counter-terror official Sanwar Hossain said the bomb disposal unit diffused seven bombs and three suicide vests found in the house.

Sitakunda police launched the raid on Wednesday afternoon based on information divulged by a ‘militant couple’ arrested from a flat at Sitakunda’s Namar Bazar.

Police and SWAT members surrounded the house after a grenade hurled from inside the building injured an officer. They were later joined by personnel from the counter-terror unit and the bomb disposal unit.

Law enforcers, after surrounding the building for 19 hours, stormed inside around 6:30am on Thursday. Witnesses said the gunfire and powerful explosions could be heard in the area for about seven to 10 minutes.

Twenty people who were trapped inside were then evacuated from the house.

Police contacted them earlier on Wednesday night and asked them not to come out. They spent the whole night inside the house amid uncertainty, keeping the doors and windows closed.

A 90-year-old woman was taken out after defusing the bombs on Thursday afternoon.

One of the other evacuees, Yasmin, said, "We tried to come out yesterday, but police asked to stay inside. I heard people walking on the floor over us throughout the night.

"And then the sound of explosion following the shout: 'Allahu Akbar'! I can't say how much panicked we were!" she said.

Grocer Shaheedul Islam, who resides at a house next to 'Chhayaneer', said no one at his house could sleep in the night. "The panic increased when the explosion rocked the area at dawn," he said.

Local Ward Councillor Shafiul Alam Murad thanked the law-enforcing agencies for the safe evacuation of the residents. "We were very anxious as innocent people were trapped inside the house."

Chittagong Superintendent of Police Noore Alam Mina said it was a very tough job to evacuate the residents of the house unharmed. "But we could finish the job."

He also said the police were keeping an eye on the area to check whether there is any other militant hideout.

 
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